Wednesday, 7 February 2018

The Money Diaries: Part 1 (In the Style of Refinery29)

Ok, so I knew London was a lot more expensive than little old Preston, but it isn’t until you live here that you realise JUST how much. It probably doesn’t help that even though at the grand old age of 25, I still have absolutely zero concept of money… which is slightly alarming. (Soz mum) Anyway, in a desperate bid to help me curb my spending, together with my OBSESSION with Refinery 29’s ‘the Money Diaries’ series, I have decided to do my own! I’m going to log everything I spend money on, and hopefully at the end of the week I will be so horrified at my frivolous spending that I will become a social recluse and have a hefty savings account by the time I turn 26. (Definitely not going to happen, but maybe I’ll find some middle ground!)

Thursday: £0
Yep- that’s right! ZERO POUNDS, ZERO PENCE. I’m starting as I mean to go on here lads! I have a stash of eggs which I keep in the cupboard at work, so I had scrambled eggs for breakfast- as I have done for the last 5 years- and brought sweet potato and Quorn sausages for my lunch (for the 1845985th day in a row) As you can see, my culinary skills don’t stretch too far. After work I met the lovely Mel from GHD and we got a free class! (Bearing in mind a single class is £20!) I then had a DATE! He bought the drinks, I supplied the amazing company, so everyone’s a winner here.

Friday: £13.40
Had to nip to the shop on my way to work to pick up some eggs for my breakfast. I’m absolutely STARVING today (and slightly hungover) so I also eat a stale crumpet that’s been in the cupboard since Monday. I had a press meeting at a lovely little vegetarian cafĂ© in Camden at lunch, so I was buzzing because a) I’ve wanted to go to Mildred’s for ageeeees, and b) expenses went on the work card, so we also treated ourselves to 2 cocktails each because #Friday. Headed to Oxford street after work to return £135 of beauty products to John Lewis. I can’t technically count this as extra money because I used my savings account to buy them, and I definitely can’t afford them. Wah. Also spent £12 in Sainsburys on some food. Gutted that the closest supermarket to me is a Saino’s, but saying that, I was picking up frozen edamame beans, chocolate soy milk and frozen peaches. SooOoo #middleclass of me.

Saturday: £34
Met my girl Beth for what was supposed to be brunch, but actually ended up being a very late lunch because I slept for about 13 hours. We went to ethos in central London- a vegetarian restaurant that I have always wanted to visit! It’s a ‘pay by weight’ situation inside, and I have absolutely no idea how heavy miso- glazed aubergine is so my total cost was £16. Considering water is free, and this also doubled up as my dinner too, I wouldn’t say it was too bad. Headed for some drinks at Pop Brixton afterwards (£18) and made a last-minute decision to head out into Shoreditch that night. Met some new BFF’s in the queue for Queen of Hoxton, and they paid for my WHOLE night. No joke. Entry, ubers, drinks- THE LOT. (thank you, you extremely generous and hilarious strangers.)

Sunday: £127
Hungover as F. Wanted to faceplant a large Dominos but I’m going to Australia next week, so I compromised with a footlong Subway and a packet of crisps, £8. Panicked and ordered something new off the menu which turned out to be rank. What a waste of calories. (Still inhaled it though.) Slept/ate whatever I could find in the cupboard for the rest of the day, then panic bought some holiday clothes. £40 Missguided, £50 H&M, £29 ASOS. Had to close the laptop before I tripped and fell onto Zara.

Monday: £7.50
Still extremely tired and extremely hungover. Just wanna slither into bed as soon as I finish work, but I’ve got a second house viewing in Tooting and I HAVE to go. Thank God my travel card pays for all this trekking around London. Had a bit of time to kill before the viewing so I popped into Asda and picked up some sun cream for next week. Well, one factor 15. One factor 6 deep tanning oil. (If I don’t come home looking like BeyoncĂ© I’m gonna be FEWIN’.) Also got a scratch card with a slither of hope that I might win a few grand and not have to move into the dossy 3 bed flat I just viewed. I didn’t.

Tuesday: £83.20
The dreaded travel card top-up! (-£40) However, I don’t feel too bad about this as I’m basically scaling the whole of London every night after work this week when I’m house-hunting, so it’s worth it. Stopped for a quick sunbed to attempt to prepare my skin for the Australian heatwave next week (only 6 mins guys- and I promise it’s only for my holiday prep!) Picked up some super healthy food shopping in a last-ditch attempt to look like Natasha Oakley on the beach next week (£12) Also panic bought a dress from ASOS. It’s SO cute though. (£25.20 with my student discount).

Wednesday: £0
Ending the week on a high! (Well, technically a low.) Brought a huge bowl of veggies and Quorn for my lunch, and an Aplro almond yoghurt because #health and #thrifty. Went to another absolute flop of a house viewing after work, BUT all my holiday shopping arrived at work today, so at least I can go home, try it all on, find that none of it fits, have a meltdown, then send it all back and be £119 richer again!

Have you ever tried keeping a money diary? I might actually make this a regular thing because it has stopped me making so many (more) impulse buys, because I didn’t want to deal with the shame of writing it down!

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2018

Ok, so this is the second (or third?!) year I’ve been single on Valentine’s Day. Which to be fair, doesn’t really bother me at all this year because I’m going to be on my way to Australia with one of my best friends Suey to see our girl Jess so I’m gonna be blowing alllllllllll your #boydonegood’s out of the water this year, soz. Anyway, even though I am single, I still get at least one Valentine’s Day card every year without fail…from my Mum. She also gets me presents because I think she feels sorry for me. (LOL) 

Even though I technically can’t take part in V-Day, I LOVE a gift guide, so boys, you’re in luck! Buy your girlfriend everything from the list below and she will love you 4ever and ever. (And girls, if you’re unsure what to get him, a fragrance is alllllways a guaranteed winner. But it has to be something a liiiiitle bit special, like Creed AventusTom Ford Tuscan LeatherBvlgari Le Gemme Men Onekh or one of these gift set for him from Clive Christian.) 

Now, back to the girls! (Little side note- if any of my secret admirers are reading this, please order them to my house before the 14th so I can open them before I fly. Thanks!) In honesty, I would much rather my (non-existent) boyfriend plan something for us to do together, because I value experiences waaaay more than actual materialistic gifts nowadays. I think this is because I am a serial shopper, and if I want something I just buy it myself. Also, planning something to do together is so much more thoughtful! And as much as I can be an ice queen, I’m actually really thoughtfulso my future boyfriend needs to be the same. If not more. (Gift experience guide coming soon!) 

HOWEVERRRRR, that doesn’t mean gifts aren’t an absolute necessity too! See below and spoil ya girl. 

SkinnyDip make-up bag (similar here)

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Living in London, So Far.

Looking for my next place to live like:
 Shop: Jumper / Flares
I've been living in the capital for two and a half months now, and I STILL haven't signed a contract for a permanent place to live. I've stayed at four different places so far, about to move into my fifth on Thursday, and then fingers cross I will be able to sign for something where I can actually settle, empty my suitcase, and actually HANG UP A TOP. I've genuinely forgotten what a coat hanger looks like because it's been that long since I used one. Wow I never thought I would see the day where I was looking forward to picking up clothes of the floor and hanging them up?! Thought that died a death when I worked the Topshop boxing day sale two years in a row...But now I am cravinggggg my own personal space!!

When I first moved to London I stayed with my friend Caitlin and her lovely housemates for a week, to help me find my feet. She lives in such a lovely flat near Clapham Junction and I was absolutely gutted to leave!!!!.....Which is probably why I came back a month later and stayed for another 3 weeks! (Eternally grateful to her, Ryan and Rachel for letting me stay so long!)

Christmas at Caitlin's

After my first week with Caitlin, I moved to an Air BnB for one night, because the one I actually wanted to move into was only available from the day after. It was in suuuuuch a dodgy area in East London, and it didn't help that I arrived at around 10pm and had to walk through a creepy estate to find the property. As I was only staying that night, I didn't see what the kitchen was like, the bathroom was average, but the BED! Oh my god the bed felt like I was sleeping on a tombstone. But it had wi-fi, so I just scrolled aimlessly on social media for 10 minutes and went to sleep.

The next night I was in another Air BnB- this one was a 'rare find' so I was expecting Buckingham Palace, even though I had seen the the photographs and they begged to differ. However, this was London, and everything is about 10x the price it would be in the north, so I was pleased (well, my Dad was) that I found somewhere decent, with good transport links that was under £35 a night. My room was a good size, the shared bathroom and kitchen were small, but there was only me and another room sharing them, and fortunately (because I hate small talk), I never met the other resident. 

On to the next one! This house (in Streatham) I thought was going to be my home for at least the next 6 months- the current housemates were lovely, the house was big, it was at the lower end of my budget, it had amazing transport links and even though my room was a shoebox, I was prepared to overlook that for the good points about the house. I rocked up on a Monday night with all my stuff, only to find I had to build my own bed. Fantastic. Obviously the girls helped me, but it was 9pm, I was tired, and DIY is not my forte. Or theirs, in fact. It was about as stable as a Nature Valley granola bar, I literally breathe and it feels like it's about to cave in and I'm going to end up through the lounge ceiling. ALSO I have no wardrobe. There was one when I got here, but they ordered me a new one and none knows how to build it, so it's been gathering dust downstairs for the last 2 weeks, meaning yep, you guessed it! Another floordrobe situation. GREAT. There is also soooo much stuff that needs fixing in the house but the landlord is really shit and never gets back to us about anything. I've given up caring now because I'm moving out, but if I was a permanent housemate I would be ringing him every day until he got everything sorted. The back door doesn't lock, for God's sake. (If you saw my Crimewatch Instagram story last week you will understand why this was the tipping point for me!) But at least it's been a base so my friends can come and stay with me, like my babe Jess who came down last weekend.

The Blues Kitchen in Brixton

Originally I found a lush flat to move into after this one, but my parents brought to my attention the fact that I'm going to Australia for 3 weeks next month, so what's the point in spending £600+ on an empty room while I'm away? Slightly annoying because I JUST WANT TO HANG UP MY CLOTHES IN MY OWN BEDROOM IN MY OWN FLAT but the thought of all that wasted money kills me (and them. Mostly them) so I managed to find a girl on Spare Room who is renting out her room for the 3 weeks I need before I go on holidays while she goes on holiday! Fate or WHAT?! So I'm moving to Wandsworth temporarily because I go to Australia, and then I'm back to square one. House hunting.

It's been SO stressful, as you can understand. But between house hunting online, attempting to have a social life, flat viewing in person, working a full time job, attending the odd blog event, building beds, trying to cram as many Best Bootcamps/1Rebel/Psycle classes in as humanely possible to stop me looking like a beached whale in Oz, I am having the time of my LIFE in London!

Anyone wanna place some bets on how long it takes me before I actually sign a contract for a house? Or tips on house-hunting?

Friday, 8 December 2017

Diary of a Cosmo Intern: Week 4

So at the weekend it was my friend Becca's 30th birthday in Sheffield! I had promised to be there, not to mention it was another chance to reunite with all my Sheffield babes! I lived there for 5 years when I was at Uni, working at Topshop, and this is where I met everyone, who I am still suuuuper close with to the day, and consider them some of my best friends. The theme was Beccacassium (amazing, right?!) so it was festival theme. Small reminder, I have NEVER been to a festival so my wardrobe is hardly bursting with glitter and Hunter wellies. I wore double denim, but instead of looking like I've just landed in LA ahead of Coachella, I resembled Shania Twain/Cardi B's love child. But God loves a trier, and it was such a good night! The 4 hour Megabus back to London on the Sunday? Not so fun. (Also- managed to get a sneaky TRIB3 session in on the Saturday morning...YAAAAAAASSSS!)

The last week of my internship! I'm actually so gutted because I'm not even doing a full week, I finish on Wednesday because.... I've got a job! I accepted a job in beauty PR on Friday, and I literally start on MONDAY so I have a week to find a permanent place to live... No pressure! Another bonus, I got my eyelash extensions back so I feel human again! Before I moved to London, I was under the impression that I could get to any part of it in about 20 minutes on the tube... How wrong was I...... 1.5 hours later of bus', overgrounds and undergrounds later...


Any spare time today has been spent trawling through Spare Room trying to find somewhere half decent within my budget. Bearing in mind I have no idea which areas of London to look in, and for the price I am paying (almost double for what I paid for a massive, beautiful 2 bedroom apartment in Sheffield when I lived with my ex-boyfriend!) I am getting a small room, in a shared house, so far from the city that I may as well be back in Preston. I felt like part of my soul started leaving my body because I had spent so much time staring at tiny, messy bedrooms and pretending they were half decent and live-able. (I even paid £10 to upgrade to a premium account so I could message people straight away instead of having to wait a week) Anyway, I secured two viewings after work, and I didn't hate them! The houses themselves weren't amazing, but the potential housemates certainly made up for it- and that's what I'm more bothered about!


My last day at Cosmopolitan! My last day getting the tube to Oxford Circus, my last day walking down Carnaby street and its crazy-sequin-carnival-parrot Christmas lights, and my last day getting excited every time I see the delivery man come through with his trolley carrying PR treats. (Yesterday we had the most delicious pecan pie you have ever tasted, Gwen Stefani baubles from Revlon, a mini Christmas tree decorated with very alternative baubles- avocado, Heinz ketchup and cats, and the most beautiful bottle of 'Unicorn Tears' gin, to name but a few.) The rest of the beauty team don't even bat an eyelid because they're so used to it, but for me it's like Christmas day! I started my day in style, with a breakfast at the beautiful Langham hotel for the Chantecaille 20th anniversary. As well as getting to swatch the new collection, I met Becky Fearn- a freelance writer and we bonded over our tragic love lives...SHOCK. I left Cosmo towers that evening with a bittersweet feeling in my belly. Sad to leave, obviously, but I was on cloud 9 nine because of the invaluable experience I had gained.  Contacts in the industry, hands-on experience in the magazine industry and ...A JOB! Oh, and not to mention the biggest bag of beauty goodies EVER! *insert smug face emoji here*

Does this mean I'm an official Londoner now?

Definitely beats my microwaved scrambled eggs!
I can't believe how fast this month at Cosmo has gone! My life has changed so much. If you didn't know how I got my internship, it was basically fate. I hated my life in Wakefield, hated my job etc etc, so I quit. Life is genuinely too short to be unhappy. Then, literally the day or so after, Lucy (Beauty Writer at Cosmo) DM'ed me on Instagram to say the girl who was supposed to be starting her internship on Monday wasn't replying to her emails or confirming her start date, and was I interested in taking her place? Bearing in mind, the wait-list to intern here is over a year, so I obviously jumped at the chance! This meant I had 3 days to pack up my flat, move all my stuff back to my parents house in Preston and get a place to live in London for a month.

Now the questions that everyone has been dying to ask... Is it paid? No, unfortunately most internships aren't paid. So how did I afford to live in London for a month unpaid? My mum and dad helped me out with the financial side, which I am eternally grateful for, as I definitely couldn't have done this without them! Does it lead to a job? No. There has only been one person that has been kept on in all the years that the beauty team have been accepting interns, and that's purely down to the fact that there isn't a vacancy there. I wasn't naive enough to wait until my internship finished to , so I applied for so many jobs while I was down here! What am I doing afterwards? I have been networking the hell out of every event I've been to, connecting with PR's and staying in touch with them, and clueing myself up about the top beauty PR companies in London. I managed to secure a job within 3 weeks of being here, so London, it looks like I'm staying! I'm not even going to put that down to luck either, I have worked HARD. And so far it's paying off!

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Tinder Dos and Don'ts (Well, Mainly Don'ts)

When he has a good job, nice teeth AND is within a 3km radius.
Have a group shot as your first photo. It automatically means you're the ugly one. Also don't have a group shot for every single photo either, as well as being extremely confusing (WHO R U!?!?!), again, it automatically means you are the ugly one. LEFT.

Lie about your occupation. 'Boss' 'Model' or 'CEO' ain't fooling anyone... You're unemployed. And don't get me started on studied at 'University of Life' or 'Hogwarts'. Unemployed. Also, recently I've noticed a couple of 'non of your business!' and 'wouldn't you like to know!' Erm, yes actually I WOULD like to know, because before I even consider swiping right I need to be sure that the future father of my children is able to give them the upbringing they deserve.

Upload photos where you have those snapchat filter stars around your head. Or the dog filter. *shudders* For a start, you look like a twat, and secondly..Actually there is no secondly, you just look like a twat. And it's even worse when there's a caption attached. 'Love a fresh trim'. Good 4 u hun. LEFT.

Give me your life story on the 'about me'. Especially when it's a super cringe one about wanting 'a nice down-to-earth girl to settle down with' SETTLE DOWN WITH. Steady on there cowboy we've not even been on one date yet. Or 'looking for that girl to put a smile on my face'. Ick.

Use photos that aren't of you- cars, pets etc. I'm 25 and single. Time's ticking. I don't have the patience to be scrolling through photos of the time you went whale watching in Iceland or bungee jumping in New Zealand. I need clear, close up photos of your face. And preferably a link to your Instagram.

Wear sunglasses in every photo. It's a known fact that everyone looks good in sunglasses, and not so much without. Plus, it gives me anxiety about what could be lurking underneath. LEFT.

Include your Snapchat name in your bio. I don't want to wake up to a dick pic, thanks.

Link your profile to your Instagram page. I need more than 5 photos to decide whether I want to see you up close and in the flesh.

This ain't LinkedIn Filip.

Only communicate via gifs. Yes, one or two is cute, but when you're pushing a third and we haven't even spoke yet, I'm guessing your conversational skills are severely lacking. I'd even be thrilled to engage with a 'hi bbe u ok?' ANYTHING!!!!

List things you like in your bio. It's one thing to be physically attractive, but I need to know that we have stuff in common! Or just a funny quote. SOMETHING to show a slither of personality.

Start conversation first. Extra points if you make me laugh.

Ask for my number straight away. There is such thing as too keen, you know.

Arrange a date within the first week. I'm not looking for a pen-pal, and in my opinion, a week is enough time to gauge whether you actually like the person enough to meet up. But I would love to hear other opinions on this!

Have you had any success with Tinder? Tweet me your tales!