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Beauty Blogger Tag

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We bloggers, we love our tags! I must admit, I got a little carried away with this one because I adore sharing my thoughts on all things beauty and make-up! The lovely Chloe from What Chloe Wrote nominated me to answer a few beauty mind bogglers.

Mes réponses…

What make-up product can’t you live without?

Let’s talk about sex, baby. Because my current favourite is Too Faced’s Better Than Sex mascara. It’s such a subtle way to make your eyes look wider and awake; it’s the first thing I reach for in the morning! I most definitely apply it to my lower lash too- I don’t understand people who don’t!

The correct way to apply mascara is to wiggle the wand into the roots of your lashes and gently zig-zag them through, making sure to brush out any clumps with a lash comb. This mascara works wonders with one coat, but the jury’s out if it’s Better Than Sex

Favourite hair care product?

In my misguided youth, I was convinced that if a product was premium priced, it would solve all my hair related problems. How very wrong I was! Lush’s American Cream conditioner has since converted me. It smells heavenly, of strawberries and cream- hence the name! What really won me over was just how amazing my hair feels after using it! My hair tends to be on the frizzy side of long and thick, but American Cream has a way of smoothing it and making it more manageable!

Favourite perfume?

Insolence by Guerlain. This is a concoction that is ultra-feminine and very sexy. I can only describe it as sex in a bottle! You need a healthy dose of confidence to wear this, which makes it perfect for a game of seduction. I just adore the way it makes me feel, so I save it for special occasions. It’s very French and very self-assured, which is an odd way to describe a perfume; but, it’s a powerful scent. This is one you have to test to understand what I mean!

Why did you start blogging?

Part naivety and part creativity. I was sixteen, or seventeen, years old and had just discovered the likes of Jenna Marbles and Kingsley on YouTube. I loved their raw honesty and the way they made me laugh- and I do mean laugh! The kind where you have to hold your stomach and catch your breath.

I suppose I was a little inspired, because I wanted to relate to people and I wanted them to relate to me. I didn’t have the confidence or personality of Jenna or Kingsley, so I wanted to blog about something that was me. I settled on football in the end, and I rather enjoyed it! I was successful too, which I am quite proud of. Alas, I started university and soon other things occupied my time. And when I decided to get back to blogging, I was passionate about different aspects of my life.

What do you love most about blogging?

I love having a platform where I can share my innermost thoughts and musings with the world, whether they may be about travel, current affairs or my favourite beauty products. It pushes me creatively and stylistically, and lately I’m loving that I feel confident in writing about things that are a little more personal.

Favourite celebrity style?

Emmanuelle Alt, without a shadow of a doubt. She is the most Parisian of us all in my opinion, and I admire her greatly. What I love about her is her ‘uniform’. A button-down shirt, jeans and a pair of heels are so often her outfit of choice and she somehow makes something so simple look so elegant. As this is a combination I have often turned to, she has given me the confidence to wear it with pride- before I truly discovered fashion, I felt shy about wearing the same combination so frequently as I thought people would mock me. But, now I channel my inner Emmanuelle Alt every time. If it works for VOGUE Paris’ Editor-in-Chief, it works for me!

Must follow on Instagram?

Audrey, from Frassy. She was one of the first bloggers I ever discovered, and I cannot tell you how much I love her. She is so inspiring and a truly empowering woman! I aim to be as honest as her one day when it comes to my blog. She’s an old-school blogging powerhouse that way- a very no-nonsense kind of girl! Her Instagram is a careful curation of very beautiful photos, but sheer honesty. It’s incredible that she can combine fashion with politics and body image, showing the two can co-exist. I am woman, and I can post about both my political standings and that cute pair of shoes I bought!

Lipstick or lipgloss?

I am going to be brutally honest now- I absolutely despise lipgloss. I never saw the appeal, even as a young girl. I wore it, but that’s because my mother refused to let me wear lipstick, only the brightest pink gloss. The texture is awful, and my long hair constantly sticks to it! It makes a right mess and I hate my lips looking shiny!

Now, the humble lipstick, that is more to my liking! It’s just so timeless and ladylike. Applying it is a sacred ritual and oh, there are so many to choose from! But, of course, nine times out of ten, I will choose a classic red.

Et toi?

Imaan, Lindsay, Lois, Sinéad – I think this tag is one you’ll like! Time to spill your secrets!

What is your favourite high street beauty product?
Which beauty blogger do you always turn to for beauty advice?
Most instagrammable beauty product out there?
What do you make of Huda Beauty?
What is your favourite high end beauty product?
CHANEL or Dior?
What is your most embarrassing beauty blunder?
Share a beauty tip?

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Montmartre

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There is a French saying, and roughly, it translates to something like; ‘there is more of Montmartre in Paris than there is Paris in Montmartre’.

There is an undeniable image of the Moulin Rouge, the infinite sex shops that line the streets, and the Café des 2 Moulins where Amélie once waited. All magnificent in their own rights, of course. But to a Parisian such as myself, Montmartre holds much more magic than that.

On my last few visits to the City of Lights, my friends and I have firmly upheld the tradition of heading to Montmartre first. Blessed with beautiful on all occasions, the Sacré-Coeur is without a doubt our starting point. None of us have a particularly religious affiliation with the church, but it is remarkable. The way the pure white stone seems to shine brilliantly across the blue sky.

Even the herds of tourists with their selfie sticks are more hushed here; as they stand to admire the great domes and the ever-present twang of a harp. The steps of the Sacré-Coeur offer a most breath-taking view of Paris, and there’s nothing better than simply letting your eye wander over typically Parisian rooftops that seem close enough to step on. Up here, the city is quite literally beneath your feet.

My fondest memory is from my first year, where I sat with friends I had just made on the steps of the Sacré-Coeur. It was a beautiful day, and I wished I had packed my sunglasses. I remember this sense of calm. Although, none of us knew each other too well, we bonded in that moment. And most importantly, of course, we felt very Parisian.

The Sacré-Coeur is extravagantly beautiful inside too. Unfortunately, or happily, depending on which way you look at it, I don’t have any photographs. The Church does ask visitors not to take any, and as a mark of respect I never have. Whilst it is a destination for tourists, it still is a place of worship for many. That itself is what makes the Sacré-Coeur so remarkable. In a country that prides itself on staunch secularism, this church remains a symbol of hope for those that still pray there.

Behind the Sacré-Coeur lies a rich history, one plagued with death and religion versus the State. Perhaps a little too heavy a subject for now, but a bloody story well worth a read.

Far from the safest neighbourhood in Paris, Montmartre is an intricate little maze of streets and sights alike, all waiting to be discovered. Ignoring the less than charming men who try to arm you with bracelets (and these really should be avoided), there are little shops filled with trinkets and quaint treasures. Vintage shops with designer pieces and concept fashion. Let’s not forget the sheer abundance of cafes and bistros, with prix fixe menus that include espressos and crêpes. It is an undeniable truth that the French know how to cook.

My words and my photographs can only help you imagine so much about Montmartre, it is simply somewhere you must stop the next time you find yourself in the City of Lights. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s a serenity I have felt every time. I suppose it’s typically French in that way, in that it is unabashedly itself. It is dirty, and it is raw with graffiti, but it’s Paris. This is the Paris that belongs to its inhabitants, the ones who work hard to make rent and pay for a pack of cigarettes. This is the Paris that belongs to artists, having played home to Degas and Van Gogh and even now, there is no shortage of painters perched at café tables.

It sounds odd, to say that in a city famed for its beauty and romance I love the lesser travelled streets where I can blend in with the locals, but I suppose I’m Living Like a Parisienne for a reason. Experiencing a city as if one lives there is just that little bit more special than playing tourist.

Montmartre is more than a seedy neighbourhood nestled in the city of Paris. When the tourists are a little too much, and you want to experience Paris beyond the Eiffel Tower, climb the hill and bask in the magic of Montmartre.

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La Mer x Glossybox

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“La mer
qu’on voit danser
le long des golfes clairs”

A sea foam blue box delivered to my door was a welcome sight on the gloomiest day in Britain. Charles Trenet’s melodious voice echoed through the house, and I walked through it as if treading on sand, my little blue box held aloft. Skies were stormy outside, but with my Glossybox, it was sunshine inside for me.

Like many La Mer admirers before me, I had been waiting for the all-important email that marked the early sale of this limited edition Glossybox. And with good reason! La Mer is possibly the most coveted skincare brand; the signature Miracle Broth creating quite the reputation. As it sits at the premium end of the price scale, this was an excellent way to sample the products without breaking the bank.

It’s no secret that packaging can make all the difference, and Glossybox x La Mer is a daydream. It’s quintessentially minimal, but with the assured touch of luxury. It was a real treat, unravelling the ribbon and unveiling the beauty within. The avid instagrammer in me was delighted at the sea-inspired colours. As I had just purchased a new camera, the Olympus PEN E-PL7, I can’t think of a better subject to have photographed first!

There are six products in total; a blend of the cult classics that brought La Mer its fame, and some of the newer additions. At an estimated value of £118, forking out a mere £40 for six of the best skincare products is an absolute bargain. It means I can sample a little of everything, and if my graduate salary allows, possibly purchase one or two of the one I like the most. The only problem is, after a week of using La Mer, I think I’m in love…

La Mer Cleansing Micellar Water…

I was very excited to try this product! Since Micellar Water has trickled down on to the high street, I’ve preferred it over make-up wipes. La Mer’s version is gloriously refreshing and removes every trace of make-up rather easily. Even my Kat Von D Tattoo Liner didn’t stand a chance! The scent was a little clinical, but other than that, I simply can’t fault La Mer’s Micellar Water.

La Mer Intensive Revitalising Mask…

Who doesn’t love the way their skin feels after a face mask? La Mer’s concoction is perfect for breathing life back into drab skin that’s in desperate need of some TLC. All it takes is eight minutes for skin that’s restored with suppleness. This product didn’t stand out for as much as some of the others, but I suppose that’s because of my oily skin, I prefer a mask that takes no nonsense from my pores.

The Revitalising Hydrating Serum…

This product is single-handedly responsible for my love affair with La Mer. As I mentioned before, I have incredibly oily skin. Finding a moisturiser that controls shine is a full-time job in itself. Murad has been keeping me happy, but then along came La Mer. I am going to need a higher salary because this is it. I have never seen my skin look so healthy and radiant, but also without a trace of shine… all day long. If you have oily skin, I recommend trying the Revitalising Hydrating Serum because it is a miracle worker!

The Treatment Lotion…

Moisture has never been much of an issue for me, but for those days when the weather had made my skin a little worse for wear, I found myself reaching for La Mer’s Treatment Lotion. It’s moisture packed into a tiny little bottle! You can expect radiance, all with even tone and improved texture. Just a few drops is all it takes!

The Eye Concentrate…

Courtesy of my job, I find myself staring at various screens for hours on end with not much snooze time, so I was intrigued to see what this product is all about. While I don’t think my eye contour needs too much TLC, the skin did look much healthier after using the Eye Concentrate and my concealer applied far better too.

Crème de La Mer –  The Moisturising Cream…

Ah yes, the Holy Grail. There’s very little I can say about this moisturiser that hasn’t been said before. All I will add is, it lives up to its reputation.

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The verdict? I am well and truly in love with La Mer. I’m not normally a fan of subscription boxes, but I’m thrilled I forked out for this one! The premium price and celebrity status certainly makes sense, because their products do make that difference in my skin care routine. Of course, as with any product it is all about trial and error- there’s not always one solution that works for all. Except perhaps Crème de La Mer

The revolution will be liked, tweeted & shared

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Materialistic, narcissistic and selfish. Not to mention entitled, lazy and privileged. These are just a few of the adjectives that crop up in discussions about Millennials. The me-me-me kids. The generation that is set to be the future. A future, at least according to parents and sociologists alike, that we have already forfeited in favour of making sure our Instagram grids have a perfect theme.

“What’s your opinion on Millennials?” I asked my mother, as she sipped at her coffee. She thought about it for a second, and began reeling off a list not too dissimilar to the one above. It quickly turned into something more personal, and I had to nip that conversation in the bud there and then. Everyone has an opinion on Millennials, but why is there so much animosity?

Internship. The word that employers will use to reel in graduates who will end up in a full-time job that barely pays for their travel, let alone food or rising rent prices in London. Do not underestimate the value of the humble internship; they are excellent opportunities to get to grips with the industry and develop the necessary skills. Having said that, if I have gone to university, burying myself in debt in the process, to achieve the necessary qualification I need for a job, I do not then expect to do said job for free. Granted, my CV might not boast years’ worth of experience, but come on, you can fork out the National Minimum Wage at least.

Millennials are a generation who aren’t fazed by rules and regiment, hence why we see no reason to adhere to it. We are revolutionising the workplace, with our fashionable workwear and our staunch decline to work the traditional 9 to 5. As Millennials, we have evolved beyond the strict lines of the colouring book; willing to tread into the vast expanse of blank canvas where we can rewrite the rules completely. Corporate culture doesn’t cut it for us all.

Hashtag selfie. It would be silly to lie and say Millennials aren’t obsessed with social media. We are incredibly aware of our online presence, and most of the time, yes, we are Instagramming that coffee we ordered and yes, you will see us at the next Twitter chat. As a generation, we are constantly switched on. Tube Commuters clutching the latest John Grisham are a rare breed, replaced by Kindle wielding, iPhone waving armies.

Perhaps there’s more to the story than immediate gratification. Perhaps, the answer is as simple as the world has changed. The digital era has steadily crept into our lives, as more businesses, people and procedures turn to technology to stay relevant. Websites and blogs have pulled the rug out from underneath the newspaper, trending tweets replacing the “Dear Editor” letter. Facebook is the new, better way to invite friends over to look at your slides of holiday photos. Instagram provides an insight into each other’s lives.

Ah, the future. It’s ours for the taking. If Gen X has any doubts about it, then I ask them to look at themselves. The elders but not wiser, who voted for Brexit and set us on a downward spiral. The so-called responsible adults, who put their faith in a madman and opened the floodgates for hate crimes. Talk about one step forward, two steps back. Homophobia, Transphobia, Islamophobia, Misogyny… Gen X are quick to point the finger at us Millennials, but what about the negativity they exude with their outdated beliefs?

Who better to stand up for what is right than the generation of the future? Millennials seem to have a fierce disregard for their parents’ beliefs; powered by a moral compass that is no doubt the result of the internet. Online platforms have enabled Millennials to educate themselves on issues beyond the white heteronormative, and with this knowledge comes a revolution. A revolution that threatens to sweep away the order of Gen X and replace it with a new one that teaches tolerance and acceptance and promotes new ideas on careers, relationships and faith.

Over the last couple of years, Millennials have orchestrated some of the world’s most powerful movements in the fight for justice. Where are the lazy, materialistic, entitled Millennials you speak of? We are a generation on a mission to educate ourselves and live fulfilling lives. Perhaps we do spend a lot of time on our phones. And perhaps you should worry about it. Why? Well, because you’ve left behind a mess and now we need a revolution to clean it up. This is a revolution that will be liked, tweeted, and shared.

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The Liebster Award

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The blogging industry can seem so intimidating to a newbie who is still working out how to get on the good side of the Instagram algorithm and googling what on earth ‘SEO’ means. I suppose it’s why something as humble as The Liebster Award is wonderful. I remember my first nomination, by the wonderful Anne-Sophie from City Cookie. There was a sheer sense of delight that someone read what I wrote on the internet, and wanted to include me in the blogosphere. Not every blogger sits on a throne of mighty Instagram likes!

As with any tale as old as time, no-one truly knows the original rules. Every blogger seems to have their own addition. I’m going to trust the judgement of Breanna Catharina, who nominated me and is, as her blog suggests, Too Cute for Life.

  1. Post 11 facts about yourself
  2. Answer the 11 questions from your nominator
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers (and tell them they’ve been nominated)
  4. Ask them 11 questions

Sur moi…

  1. Standing at 5’1 (barely), I am as every bit as tiny as I look in the photos
  2. At the tender of seventeen, I decided to blog… about football
  3. The reason I am such a coffee snob is because I am a qualified barista
  4. I’m a huge fan of Marvel films, Iron Man being my favourite superhero
  5. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur is the only book of poetry I didn’t have to force myself to read
  6. Although my family has Indian and Pakistani origins, I consider myself culturally British
  7. The first man to break my heart was Fernando Torres; with his transfer from Liverpool to Chelsea
  8. I am absolutely terrified of spiders, or most creepy crawlies in general
  9. A good pulled rib meat burger is the way to my heart
  10. Chris Pine was my first celebrity crush
  11. This one’s a secret, but I cannot decide if I love London or Paris more

Mes réponses…

  1. If you live in a world that was monochromatic, what colour would you want it to be?
    Black. I think it’s a colour with so much depth and emotion. It’s sleek and flattering, with a certain je ne sais quoi.
  2. If you were in the circus, what act would you want?
    Trapeze artist. I think it would be both terrifying and exciting flying through the air every night.
  3. What is your favourite cuisine?
    Is coffee a cuisine?
  4. What song describes your life?
    I wish it was something as poetic as Truly Madly Deeply by Savage Garden, whereas in reality, it’s more like Labels or Love; the song Fergie recorded for Sex and the City.
  5. What is something everyone loves but you don’t like?
    Hauls. I can’t quite pinpoint it, but I see people do these all the time, and I just can’t understand why? Also, how do bloggers afford to do hauls so often? It’s something I just can’t see myself doing, I suppose.
  6. What small thing drives you crazy?
    Daniel; my younger brother.
  7. What was your favourite year in school?
    If we’re talking about the good old days, I would have to say Year Five, when I would have been ten years old. I think the highlight for me was being the only person on the playground who could tackle this one boy no-one else could.
  8. What do you know that you think everyone should?
    Starbucks’ coffee comes from a vending machine. That’s why you can’t see what they’re doing apart from steaming the milk, they don’t want you to know all they do is press a button to get you your morning latte.
  9. What would you like to change about your blog?
    I think my photography could do with some work. Which is why I’m selling my old camera and upgrading. Any tips are welcome as always.
  10. What brand would you like to work with on your blog?
    It’s painfully obvious that I am a CHANEL girl, but at this moment in time I am loving Alessandro Michele’s creative direction with Gucci. It would be such an honour to work with Gucci and create posts around the vibrant colours and bold accessories.
  11. What is going on in your life right now?
    I hope to be a part of some branding projects, as I want to develop my marketing skills. Editorial is the ultimate goal; so I am reading more and trying to practice my writing through longer, eloquent posts. Is it working?

Et toi?

Ayse, Cody, Eleanor, Imaan, Katrina, Kimberly, Lindsay, Melissa, Selena, Shellie & Sinead– you’re up! Here are some very important questions I have for you…

  1. What do you like most about your blog?
  2. How do you like to spend a Monday morning?
  3. Is there something that never fails to brighten your mood?
  4. If you could pick one fictional person to be your best friend, who would you choose?
  5. Where do you see your blog in five years’ time?
  6. Which is your favourite social media platform?
  7. Do you prefer holidays where you can relax, or holidays filled with activities?
  8. What’s your favourite opening line of a book?
  9. Coca Cola or Pepsi?
  10. Has your blogging style changed since you first started out?
  11. Do you believe in horoscopes?

The Dubai Epiphany

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A Londoner and a self-proclaimed Parisian. It’s the cities that make us who we are. The daily grind; the kind where you wake up every morning early enough to wing your eyeliner and sip a flat white in a Shoreditch coffee shop before a day in your heels and making a quick stop at that new cocktail bar that makes your body ache by the time you collapse in bed that evening. A life where your Saturdays are spent at the launderette as you try to have some clean underwear in time for your date with the blue-eyed boy with the seductive smelling cologne. It’s a life I certainly wouldn’t trade.

That’s not to say that the provinces bore me. Every once in a while, I find the urge to disappear and sip a cocktail under the sunshine. Or hunt down the most instagrammable shots of town. Sometimes, even the most urban of us need to escape to pollution free air where we can feel the hot sand between our toes.

Dubai is a hotspot for people from all corners of the earth. An ever-growing city that is always alive with lights, it has connections with a vast number of countries that it’s no wonder that it’s so popular amongst the expats. Make no mistake, it is a city, but a city I oddly enough felt no desire to wander into. I spent a week in the happy bubble of Madinat Jumeirah, basking in the scorch of the sun and cooling off in the pool.

I have never been one for hotels. At least, I think not. They restrict me. I much prefer the freedom of an apartment, where I can truly make myself at home. I suppose it’s why we didn’t opt for the famous Jumeirah Beach Hotel– it’s rife with the tourist trade. No, I loved the shade of our villa in the Dar Al Masyaf resort. We had a private pool and king size beds. There was a huge tub and a walk-in closet I was reluctant to leave behind. The little details relax me; that wonderful sense of being on holiday but with the homeliness.

There are always details that remind you just how far from home you are. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the early morning sunshine from the shade of my boat, sailing through the waterways that connect the resort. There was a serenity about the gentle slosh of the water and the curious questions of the man navigating the boat towards the beachfront for my breakfast. Gliding down crystal clear blue waters lined by palm trees and Middle Eastern architecture… it’s certainly one way to feel alive.

In theory, these were all reasons that should have led to a very happy relationship between myself and Dubai.  I’ve never felt so carefree as the day I boated back to my villa after a full body massage at the spa. But, oddly enough, it made me crave London. I liked Dubai, yes, or rather, I liked what Dubai wanted me to.

Dubai is a city, but a very different kind of city that isn’t my cup of tea. The landscape that is forever changing unsettles me. I’m not against innovation, but how does one thrive in a city where the buildings you live and work in could exist one day and be rubble the next? I value the familiar joints that ground me when I need a place to return to. London is never short of coffee shops or bars to experience. There are side streets just waiting to be explored and suburbs just waiting for a city goer to get lost in. But when I’ve had enough, I find myself ordering a flat white at Soho Grind and taking comfort in the dim glow of the neon sign; French lessons given downstairs.

I am a do-it-yourself kind of woman. Fortunate as I am to have grown up in a comfortable lifestyle, the kind where there was always food to eat and a warm house to come back to, my parents have never believed in handing me life on a silver platter. I remember days working on a market in the bitter cold. I have served time as a barista to pay for my education. Even as a fashion intern, I have run around London in my high heels, carrying boxes of props and attending events. I’m no stranger to work, so I feel uneasy in cultures were servants are part of the hierarchy. It may well be the history behind ‘the help’, but I don’t consider myself above anyone enough to think they should be ironing my clothes for me. My roots armed me with a fierce humility towards the Pakistanis who were at my beck and call just so they could send money home to provide for their families. Without them, Dubai would struggle to survive.

Consumerism is the only culture ingrained into Dubai society. Beyond its skyscrapers, resorts and malls, there is little to charm me. And even those are only for those with more money than sense. If you can give it a paint job and shine some filmstar bulbs on it, you can bet the Arabs want a slice of the action in their dearly beloved Dubai.

In retrospect, perhaps I have simply put a pair of rose tinted glasses on my workaholic nature. Maybe I am in love with London and Paris too much to ever truly open myself up to anywhere else. Perfect lives are for the elite Emirati; daily glamour and glitz doesn’t define this modern woman, nor does shopping and Starbucks. You see, with London, you get what you see. It makes no effort to hide the grit of Hackney and the opulence of South Kensington. London is unapologetically itself. Paris? The romance is overrated but it prides itself with a blasé attitude that would put anyone to shame. Dubai? While you’re hiding in the comforts of Jumeirah Beach or gazing up at the Burj Khalifa, the dirty secrets of the UAE are being buried at the bottom of that new canal in Business Bay. Moral corruption, maybe London has that too; but at least I can protest it in my rose gold Nikes like the East London working woman that I am.

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To work in fashion like me

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“You sold your soul to the devil when you put on your first pair of Jimmy Choo’s!” – The Devil Wears Prada

It’s a Monday morning, and in between cups of coffee and a dozen emails, I find myself mapping out my career path. I was a late bloomer, so to speak, meaning I only decided that fashion was my chosen industry approximately two and a half years ago. Designing and modelling (aside from the odd Instagram selfie, of course) had never crossed my mind, and to this day, they still don’t strike any interest with me. Currently, my official title reads: Administrative & Marketing Assistant. It’s as every bit as gruelling and yet glamorous as it sounds.

Approval for an internship is as rare as a smile from Anna Wintour. I met mine with sheer relief, as it meant I wasn’t part of the unemployed 5% of recent graduates. That, and I had been accepted into the very industry I craved to be a part of. I will take the donkey work. The photocopier will be owned. Coffee runs will be my cardio. Being a fashion intern- or an entry level employee in any industry- does not allow for much luxury. So, I suppose the workaholic nature I inherited from my father is somewhat of a godsend. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. I am lucky enough to work with a team who trust me enough to give me authority and responsibility. From running their social media to co-ordinating a project for a high-profile client three times a year, I’m a busy bee. Details can’t be spared seeing as I have signed a non-disclosure agreement, but rest assured, I love my job.

The cold hard truth? The fashion industry is as notoriously hard to break into as it is reputed to be. As Carolina Herrera once said; “to make it in fashion, you must have perseverance, discipline, and talent.” It is a long way to the top, but it’s even longer to get a foot on the ladder itself. The rejections will pile up. How you deal with them is what singles out the real potentials. Sheer passion has to be the driving force, because a qualification will only take you so far. Experience is essential, and as difficult as it is to find, don’t turn down retail. A few stints in Harrods or a New Bond Street boutique will open more doors for you than you think.

Eat fashion. Sleep fashion. Breathe fashion. Immerse yourself in it. This time last year, I expressed myself with the ever repetitive ‘I love fashion’ line and the odd Coco Chanel quote to caption my Instagram posts. In retrospect, this was incredibly naive and rather embarrassing. There are a million girls who love fashion, so what makes me more worthy than them to work in the industry? In a nutshell, I discovered myself in fashion; forging an identity based on creative expression and a deep found knowledge of its icons. Can you tell me what the political significance of the Lady Dior bag is? What inspired the features of a CHANEL Classic Bag? Why are the straps of a Gucci handbag shaped in that specific way?

What about the clothes? Where are the handbags? What size do those shoes come in? These are questions I ask myself when I pass through Harrods or the Dior boutique on New Bond Street (heaven on earth, if you must know). Yet, the businesswoman in me has other questions. What impact does Brexit have on the fashion industry? How has the digital era affected consumer markets? Does social media have any tangible benefits for luxury fashion? What about Stella’s pledge for sustainable fashion? Spotting the Prada amongst the Primark cannot be your sole skill.

Envisaging the dream job, or the ultimate goal, now, that’s the easy part. But, as they say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Work out what that first step is, and then the others. Map out the path to your dream job, and don’t rule out any detours. Ask an expert to glance over your CV. Accept that internship. The fashion industry isn’t sugarcoated for a reason. It is tough. There are early starts and late nights. You will be challenged mentally and physically, so you had better break in those heels before Monday morning comes around.

Having said that, when it comes to the fashion industry, hard work reaps rewards. There is always something to learn; whether it’s the history behind a brand, or about yourself, I find myself growing and maturing all the time into a more wholesome person. The fashion world is filled with hundreds of thousands of people, all of whom are inspiring in their own way. Their motivation fuels my own. Of course, there are the beautiful clothes and the sample sales, as well as the odd freebie and invitations to events. After all, this wouldn’t be a fashion post without all that jazz.

Don’t assume fashion is the glossy exterior pictured in VOGUE. It has a rich history, rooted deep in society, economics and most importantly, humanity.

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House of Fraser SS17

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“Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking.” – Miranda Priestly

Each season brings the promise of a new wardrobe, and like an investigative reporter poised with my iPhone rather than a notebook, I found myself at the House of Fraser Press Day for Spring Summer 2017.

Displayed like modern art in One Marylebone, House of Fraser’s pieces for SS17 promise swishy skirts, bold prints and athleticism. For the demure among us, there is a wonderful palette awash with nude and ivory, suede and silk. Long pleated skirts are still belle du jour, but play with hemlines and don’t be afraid to the break the rules. Tropical prints and embroidered designs that wouldn’t look out of place in Morocco bring life to London; sunshine yellow to add to the April showers. Luxury sportswear takes centre court, meaning it really can be new year, new you.

What impressed me the most was just how accessible this fashion was. House of Fraser combined their own brand pieces with designer collections, showing that the perfect Instagram outfit-of-the-day doesn’t have to break the bank. Gone are the days of wearing CHANEL from head-to-toe. The modern woman- and man, for that matter- prides themselves on versatility. Label Lab with Tommy Hilfiger? Why ever not! Love Moschino to accompany Linea? Perfect!

The new collection doesn’t hit the streets until February, but here are my favourite pieces that I will definitely be adding to my Spring Summer wardrobe.

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I have always favoured a classic handbag- preferably one large enough to cart my life around in- but I found myself drawn to this kitsch Ted Baker number. Classy enough to show your crazy cat lady in public, no?

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Bomber jackets are here for the long haul, and I absolutely love this embroidered version, especially paired with these jeans. Utility, but with floral flair.

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British Street Style does have a soft spot for the tailored London look, and this Dickins & Jones button down shirt would be a best friend to my cashmere jumpers.

As far as my Sporty Spice look goes, a Tommy Hilfiger sports bra did catch my eye. It was both pretty and practical, but impossible to photograph. Especially as for this Press Day I challenged myself to capture everything on my iPhone and not my camera! I suppose you’ll have to see it for yourself when SS17 launches in February, at House of Fraser!

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Shop online at House of Fraser!

Charlotte Tilbury

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There’s something wonderfully uplifting about purchasing make-up, isn’t there? Lipsticks are my guilty pleasure. Every time I see a pretty lipstick I just can’t help myself, especially if it’s a deep, sexy red or a bright, beautiful nude.

I think it rather explains why I am so drawn to Charlotte Tilbury. She shares the same ethos as myself when it comes to make-up. It’s a source of empowerment for the women (and men) who wear it. I love those precious few minutes in the morning I put aside for my beauty routine. In the midst of breakfast and a tube commute, that time is purely to focus on myself to do something that makes my day just that tiny little bit better. As for nights out, I am unashamed to admit I can spend hours in front of the mirror with an eyeshadow blending brush. Call it vanity or self-preservation, I am a firm believer in taking care of one’s appearance.

I remember the first Charlotte Tilbury lipstick I ever bought. It was from the K.I.S.S.I.N.G collection, wrapped in a rose gold tube that oozes glamour. A delightful nude shade as smooth as cashmere and aptly named Bitch Perfect. I think the name was the winning factor! I then moved on to the Magic Foundation, which is undoubtedly a miracle in a bottle. It washes over my oily complexion perfectly, lasting all day and erasing any blemishes. It’s light but allows for coverage; a little burst of freshness on the skin.

By this point, I was head-over-heels for Charlotte Tilbury, that chance would have it that I would get to meet Madame herself!

In the heart of Westfield London nestles a Beauty Wonderland awash with all the glamour and glitz of decades gone by. Plush velvet, dazzling lights and the most wonderful make-up artists one could ever hope to be assisted by. They wove their way through the queue, dusting us with Filmstar Bronze & Glow; leaving trails of A Scent of a Dream and lavishing us with Goddess Skin Clay Mask. Treats of candy canes and cookies were passed around, as we were serenaded by music. What better way to prepare for the makeover of a lifetime?

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Where do I begin to describe Charlotte Tilbury? This incredible woman; who seems to glide through life on platform heels. Artist to the stars, she shared her vision of bringing the looks she creates for Hollywood to the everyday woman. She has made Kate Moss’ rock-chic look accessible for the single mum. Penelope Cruz’s smokey eye can be mastered by the law student. Kim Kardashian West’s flawless skin is a possibility for the London commuter. She went on to reveal the story behind her Magic Cream and why skin care is so important. Her passion for what she does really shone through, and whilst she has successfully commercialised her creations, she is far from the pushy sales company. It’s like chatting to an old friend, the way words like ‘fabulous’ and ‘darling’ ebb and flow in the conversation. And the truth is, while she certainly promotes herself and her products, you know that she really is an expert in her field.

As a woman who is on demand on the red carpet just as much as she is during Fashion Week, she understands the magic of make-up and the insecurities women may have. She knows how to make women beautiful, and we can scream and shout about how women shouldn’t have to wear make-up to feel beautiful, there’s no denying its power. It’s outrageously feminine, and certainly has a feel-good factor to it. When a woman feels good about herself, she displays her confidence and every task is done with just a little more jazz.

To her credit, not that she needs it, Charlotte is remarkable at what she does. The day she took one look at me and told me I was a sophisticated Dolce Vita is forever seared into my memory. I almost felt like a giggly schoolgirl when she told me I was gorgeous! (Sorry, bae!). A few minutes was all it took for her to prescribe me the Charlotte Tilbury treatment, and walking away with a personalised gift box and photograph really was the red lipstick to finish the look.

I ended up purchasing the Dolce Vita eyeshadow quad. After the artist showed me how to use it, I decided I really loved the look. Normally, I’m not one for glittery looks but there was something about the look I fell in love with. The Dolce Vita is versatile palette as it turns out- there’s a wonderful tutorial on YouTube where Charlotte creates a subtle day look and then a darker party look with the same shades. Having brown eyes can be a little dull sometimes, as I’m never sure if I’ve actually made them ‘pop’, but Dolce Vita is the perfect palette for exactly that.

Having sung Charlotte’s praises now, I think all that is left for me to do is go scope out my next purchase. I’m thinking a Matte Revolution lipstick…

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The secret life of a graduate

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People say the best years of your life lie at university. Three, perhaps four, maybe more for the medics, years of education, self-discovery and all round shenanigans. Of course, those hours in the library are important, but there is so much more to university than just the certificate you frame at the very end. Be careful, because the person you went to university as may not be the person who graduates.

There is a certain sense of emotional and mental maturity that accompanies a degree. A rite of passage. The surprise on your parents’ face when you somehow manage to navigate a sticky situation (even if it just the laundry) without running to them for help. Now that is the hardest part of being a graduate.

Some are fortunate enough to have a job lined up as soon as they tossed their mortarboard into the air. For others, like yours truly, it’s somewhat trickier to get your foot in the door.

Ah yes, the job application. Or rather, the endless job applications. The ones that make you question if you really did proofread your CV, and if your cover letter is actually as persuasive as you initially thought. The first rejection is both the hardest and the easiest. Hard to accept, but easy to bounce back from. They eventually became commonplace to me. Although, rejections were easier to handle than cold, hard silence.

My lucky break came to me in the form of a job as an Administrative and Marketing Assistant at International Profile. Getting to work with the big guns in the fashion industry is something of a dream; even if it’s not directly the line of work I one day want to end up in. From working on a Hackney market, to interning with Lulu Guinness; if I’ve learnt one thing, it’s that sometimes your dream isn’t down a straight path. Right now, I’m happy co-ordinating projects for one of the fashion powerhouses out there and exploring creativity in my hometown. This job isn’t set in stone, but it’s a blessing I am grateful for.

Be willing to work your ass off. Start every morning with a coffee and your own company. Eat your vegetables. Call your mum every Sunday. And remember, you aren’t the only one struggling with your post-student status. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and underwhelmed in one go. Keep plugging away, you’ll get that job one day. Then you’ll have bills and taxes to pay, and you’ll realise that being a graduate really isn’t all that.