Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Life Of An Intern | Networking

So I started my first ever Intern just a couple of weeks ago at Creative Academies, a non profit organisation in the West Midlands. In a hope to gain some experience within my chosen field of work, this being marketing and PR, I was finally given the chance to learn some more about the industry. As mentioned in some of my previous blog posts even getting an Intern these days can prove to be quite difficult, so as you can imagine I was very grateful when director Jerrel Jackson decided to take me on along with three others Interns. Even though originally I wanted to gain some experience in the fashion and beauty PR sector, I think just Interning generally is good as it enables you to not only pick up some valuable skills, it also provides you with the chance to network and build a list of contacts within the industry.

The Creative Curriculum
Also the fashion and beauty PR sector is mainly based in London and without somewhere to stay this can prove to be quite pricey when travelling back and forth. My plan of action now is to gain as much experience whilst living at home and then move to London once I have secured a paid job. So what do I do as a marketing Intern you may be wondering. Well my role is mainly to update social media platforms and check for user activity when increasing sales within the business. The organisation as noted is non profit so it is all about giving back to the community and works closely with the local community and children using creativity to inspire learning. In fact my director on Friday won an award for Young Educator of the year as part of Inspire Birmingham. This is not only an outstanding achievement, it will also hopefully bring in more funding which will result in more business. At the moment the company is quite small and unrecognised so getting the message out there about the company is vital and this is where I come in...

The Company's Goals
I have a keen interest in social media and this is an industry that seems to be growing by the second. I can't wait to get involved with some of the upcoming projects at Creative Academies and I am sure there will be a lot to learn along the way too. The one thing I really love about this company is that Jerrel the director really allows me to have a voice which is unusual for an Intern as you will find in most companies you have to take a back seat. I am able to have a real impact on this company's growth and this is experience money cannot buy.

If you are reading this and think this sounds like something you want to be a part of, get emailing companies and do not take no for an answer. Working for free isn't all that bad and a lot of the time there may be a full time paid role waiting at the end of your placement. Make an impact and take home the rewards.

Happy Interning! 

Friday, 21 March 2014

How To Land Yourself A Grad Job | Life After University

Because I don’t feel any university degree fully prepares you for life after university, I am here to let you on to a few tips and tricks. Whether you are just starting out- an eager fresher, coming to the end of your degree or taking a well deserved gap year, this article will give you more of an insight into what life is really like after completing your three (or more) years at university. 

Firstly, don’t think it is going to be plain sailing after leaving university. I sat through hundreds of graduate applications before I even got any sort of response. Remember that competition is tough and thousands of graduates will be applying for just one position. It is down to the recruiter to find the very best graduates, so make your application stand out! Graduate applications are VERY time consuming so remember to put some time aside to really focus on writing a personalised response which leads me on to my next tip- don’t simply copy and paste information from one graduate application to the next. Recruiters want to know that you have genuine interest in their company and that you will be an asset to their team.

After filling out an application form you will then be asked to complete some online tests providing you meet the criteria. Tests you scream?! Yes, unfortunately even if you’re going for one of the more creative grad jobs like me, you are still expected to complete a numerical test the majority of the time along with a verbal reasoning test. Now for those of you who hate maths like I do this is just a no go! I chose English at university for a reason… It gets worse though, there is a time limit you have to complete these tests in. So now you’re probably thinking do I even bother? There’s no denying that these tests aren't easy and even more infuriating is the fact that you probably won’t be using half the calculations in the job itself. That’s what programmes such as excel are designed for right?

If you pass this stage you are guaranteed an interview of some shape or form. Easier said than done though! I was invited to a couple of graduate interviews which obviously demonstrated my academic ability to succeed but what about me as a person? This is where you really need to step it up a notch or two.

I don’t think anyone enjoys the interview process. Sitting in a enclosed space facing a board of two or three intimidating looking directors is not going to be anyone's idea of fun really is it ? One thing I would say from personal experience over these past few months is that the more interviews you attend, the better you will be become at them. Practice makes perfect right. Just don’t give up even if you're knocked back a few times. It’s easy to just settle for a job stocking shelves at Morrisons but none of us went to university to stock shelves that's for sure... 

So the interview was a success and you have landed yourself a graduate job. Oh wait maybe not as now an assessment day is in order so you’re told. Things to expect: team building, role play and the chance to scare off the competition. I told you this was a time consuming process! That aside, assessment days can be quite fun, but remember you’re being assessed at every stage so act fast- this is not the time to be going home empty handed! All this done, you will be notified as to whether you have been successful I am presuming within a couple of days. However don't be surprised if you don't receive personal feedback as a lot of the time you do have to ask for this. 

I don' think anything really prepares you for life after university. Intern, network and put yourself out there. Gone are the days of the paper C.V- today you need to use your initiative more than ever. In fact my latest application for a graduate job in London saw me posting a short Instagram video and using a single tweet both to describe myself. Even though this was for a social media job, sometimes allowing your personality to shine through on paper is more difficult than it seems.

In my next post I will be talking about two Interns I am currently doing at the moment and again hopefully help you to understand that there are many different routes after university which you can take. Don't just think that you have to apply for these long winded graduate schemes for corporate organisations. Find the SME's and make it personal!

Catch you soon!

Friday, 14 March 2014

Insomnia | Counting Sheep

In a hope to find a niche so to speak for my blog, I want to get talking more about health related issues as this is something which I am really passionate about; health, fitness and well-being. I thought this would also be a great opportunity to get some further insight into other's opinions by seeing what you wonderful bloggers have to say on some of the issues I will be tackling. In this particular post I will be talking about insomnia, something I suffered with at university for quite a while during my final year. The cause? Who knows. I know this is an illness that can persist for months or it can occur in frequent bursts like it often did for me. It's not pleasant and it can totally mess with both your mind and your body.

After countless nights of trying to count sheep, taking deep breaths and finally coming to terms with the fact that I would not be sleeping that night, I decided it was time to get down to my local pharmacy. At first I was afraid to go to my doctors with such an issue. I would be laughed at I thought, but I have realised since having this illness that a lot of us take for granted how important sleep is and this is a matter we do need to be addressing more.

I was often left feeling lethargic after a sleepless night due to my insomnia which led me to napping in the day. Yes, I know I was a student so napping was technically allowed, however I wouldn't just nap for 10 minutes, this would turn into a few hours sleep which let’s face it is only really okay when you are either sick or hungover! Napping for this amount of time would only make me feel worse and saw me repeating the no sleeping cycle all over again that same night. Along with this my work at university would also take a beating. I was unable to concentrate in lectures and produce the quality of work I usually would. I put it down to stress now but at the time I would have done literally anything to just drop off to sleep like any other normal human being. The thing with insomnia is that you do feel tired and ready for bed but your mind decides to stay awake whereas your body is ready to relax. It’s such a bizarre feeling and I have had times where I have had sleep paralysis because of this. If you were wondering, this is where your mind wakes up but your body doesn't. Weird I know!

So what kind of treatments are available? Well as I said I tried everything in my path to start with (yes I did even try counting sheep). It was then that I decided I would need some sort of medical treatment and opted for calms herbal capsules which unsurprisingly failed to work. When I finally got round to visiting my doctor they were reluctant to give me any sleeping tablets as I hadn't been properly diagnosed as such, and at my age it was rare to be prescribing such medication. So back to Boots it was, this time opting for a stronger form of medication available over the pharmacy counter. 

Nytol was the solution to all me problems it seemed. Just one capsule a night an hour before sleep and I was guaranteed a good night’s sleep. However, a word of warning for anyone who buys these tablets, make sure you are very careful as I found myself starting to rely on these tablets. It was essential during my exam period that I was getting enough sleep but after this hectic period was over I found myself worrying about getting to sleep without the use of these tablets. Remember insomnia is not a lifelong illness and the excessive use of such medication is not recommended.  

Ways to avoid insomnia? Well I happen to think about everything and anything whilst lying in bed at night and this is when the stress builds up. What if my alarm doesn’t go off? What if I am late for work? I think writing a list does help but during this time whilst writing my dissertation and preparing for my exams it seemed as if no list was big enough to comply with my extremely busy schedule. It is also recommended that you avoid caffeine and eating late (generally after 8pm) as this could provide with you that extra energy that your body simply doesn't need. I am a tea addict so this was never going to go down too well for me. I now drink camomile tea which has no caffeine in and is said to aid sleep. I think this is a great way of winding down along with my lavender candle which infuses my room with wonderful soothing scents. Another classic is of course reading a book or relaxing in a hot bath...

I hope this article has helped to inspire any of you out there who have suffered or are suffering with this illness. I would love to hear what you think about some of the ideas addressed in this article and remember if you do need any further information please don’t be afraid to ask. Until next time...

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Mustard | OOTD

As I haven't done one of these posts in a while I thought it was time to bring my camera out again and get my game face on ready for some ultimate posing. I love this jumper and rarely wear it but seeing as the sun is shining and spring is nearly upon us I thought it was time I bought it out from hiding. I love the colour of this jumper, mustard I would refer to it as. It is quite a hard colour to pull off and doesn't suit everyone but I have seen some really nice items just lately in this colour. I feel it works best alongside blue denim jeans or maybe a pair of denim shorts. I bought this jumper from Primark last year and think it cost me around £12-bargain! My jeans which are quite old also are from Topshop and my scarf is from Dorothy Perkins. My hat which is one of my favourite hats is from the lovely River Island along with my shoes which I have recently spoken about. These are in at the moment if you can find your size and cost £40

River Island Love | A Girl Can Never Own Too Many Shoes

Okay so a couple of posts ago I wrote about the 'Chelsea Boot Craze' that everyone seemed to be raving on about and I featured a couple of my favourite boots from the River Island collection. Now after searching high and low for these boots in numerous River Island stores and online, I was lucky enough to stumble across my size in a new store opening just down the road from me in the wonderful (or not so wonderful) West Bromwich! I cannot tell you how happy I am and how excited I was when I saw these in store! I have literally been dying to get my hands on these boots from the moment I saw them. I am not one to see something and buy it immediately either. I will always look elsewhere and ponder the thought. At just £40 you cannot complain, they are so versatile and surprisingly comfy too! These are shoes you can wear either day or night and seeing as I don't own a pair of heels that I can wear in the day these are perfect! I will definitely be getting my wear out of these beauties!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Sanctuary Spa | Bath Time Has Never Felt So Good

Following on from my previous blog post, in this post I will again be talking about bath products as winter isn't quite over yet and lets face it who doesn't love a good bath? A time to relax, put your feet up and let all your worries float away. I love a good soak and when I say a good soak, I literally mean an hour or five…

Now I understand that many of you will have your own ways of relaxing during bath time whether this is by using candles, soft music or just some of your own favourite bath time products. Today I will be sharing with you another one of my favourite beauty products used especially for that special time, this being Sanctuary Spa products. I'm sure many of you have heard of this brand, you can purchase their products in many leading department stores including Boots and Debenhams. I first got my hands on one of their lovely gift sets two Christmases ago and what a pleasant surprise it was. Not only are these products kind to the skin but they are also very indulgent (the name really says it all really). 'Take time for yourself' is a phrase used on all Sanctuary Spa products and this is exactly what we ladies need to be doing more!

Providing that Spa experience in the luxury of your own home, these prestigious products may seem a little overpriced at first but until you have tried them for yourself, don't be so quick to judge. I am now going to talk you through just a couple of the Sanctuary Spa products I own and love.

First off is this beautiful Body Butter which is priced at £9.20 and made from cocoa butter, shea butter, sweet almonds and of course that all important Vitamin E. This cream not only smells lovely, it gives your skin that extra needed moisturised boost. I tend to use this product mainly on dry areas including my elbows and the heels of my feet as I feel it is too good to use as an all over body moisturiser. Its non greasy formula sinks right into your skin giving your skin long lasting protection all day long. I think this is a gorgeous product and certainly one of my favourites from the Sanctuary Spa collection. 

Second on my list is this Luxury Bath Float which smells absolutely divine! Its oriental fragrance will turn your bathroom into the ultimate relaxing retreat I assure you. Pour a small amount under the running hot tap and watch your bath fill will tons of luscious bubbles. Again enriched with Vitamin E this product leaves your skin feeling refreshed and nourished. I don't think you are able to purchase this product alone, however it does come in the Ultimate Body Revival gift set which a dear friend of mine bought for me when introducing me to these products. This gift set is priced at £20 and is well worth checking out if you want to try a collection of Sanctuary's pampering treats.

Next up we have the Sanctuary Spa Body Wash at £5.10 which of course also smells divine. Its a very fragrant product infused with essential oils and capsules of sesame oils and jojaba which help to exfoliate your skin leaving it feeling silky smooth and uplifted. I am a big lover of any product that helps to exfoliate the skin when achieving that flawless glowing look. This product therefore is a winner in my eyes and one I would definitely purchase time and time again as a day to day cleanser.

Finally we have the Sanctuary Spa Body Lotion which is priced at £5.50. This is a light moisturising body lotion which is made from ginger, jojoba and other sweet spices. A thick creamy product which leaves your skin feeling energised and warm, this is a great all round moisturiser that completes any spa day. Said to last 24 hours, this isn't a moisturiser I particularly would use as part of my skin regime, however it is very pleasant and delicate to the skin.


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Oh So Lush | Lush Cosmetics

Okay so it is fair to say I have been missing out for the past god knows how long as I have only recently discovered how amazing the Lush cosmetics range is, and oh how my world has been turned upside down! I cannot get enough of these products and am constantly reading other bloggers posts and watching YouTube videos on which ones are your favourites. 

As you can imagine I am extremely excited to be sharing with you all my first Lush blog post (I am sure there will be many more to come). For those of you who know me and read my posts, you will be aware that I am a big lover of natural products due to my sensitive skin. When I first heard about Lush I must say I was put off by the smells and extremity of colours as I passed by one of their stores in Birmingham city centre. However after doing a lot of research into the brand, I was surprised to find that all the products are handmade and use fresh ingredients including fruit and vegetables which is locally sourced and bought into the different stores each day. With little preservatives and little packaging these products ooze ethical goodness and are right up my street that’s for sure! There is even a little note on each product to say when it was made and who by. I love this finishing touch as it really allows you to connect with the brand on a personal note. From the moment you step into one of their stories you are able to recognise that those who work for Lush really put a lot of love and care into their products. 

So the first product that I am going to be reviewing today is this Blooming Beautiful gift set bought for me by my lovely friend at Christmas. Now I have only just got round to using this but what a lovely gift it is. The first thing that struck me was the beautiful packaging it was wrapped in. In fact each of the gifts available at Lush are wrapped in some really funky paper, the only problem being with this is that it looks too nice for you to want to rip it open! 

At £7.95 I think this is definitely a well priced gift as it contains two different bath bombs. The first one, Think Pink is said to be like ‘giving a hug’ as it is filled with paper confetti hearts which you will see start to appear in your bath once it starts to dissolve. I think this is such a lovely idea and will definitely lift your mood during any bath time. I love the colour of this product, anything pink related is a winner in my eyes. 

Pop in the Bath which is also floral is said to ‘transport you to a citrus grove’. This smells divine and even though this one doesn't make my bath pink like Think Pink, I cannot wait to lather myself in the mountains of bubbles.

The second product I will be reviewing today is called Shimmy Shimmy which was bought for me by my other half as a Valentine’s gift. This massage bar which is made from Fair Trade shea and cocoa butters is said to ‘make nights out sparkle’ or I'm sure nights in! May I add here that I love the little messages that come with each Lush product, they’re so cute and again add that personal touch to the products. Now there is a whole range of massage bars available at Lush of which I cannot wait to try. This one in particular is the glitter bar as it makes your skin shimmer (think twilight), a perfect treat for me as one of my favourite things to have visually is glowing skin. Yes I love to sparkle! You can use this a few times but remember once it comes into contact with your skin, it does start to dissolve so keep it somewhere safe. Not only did my skin look great after using this, it felt so clean and super soft too. Now I didn't manage to get a picture of this one before it was used so I grabbed this one of the Lush website just to show you what it looks like if you were interested in buying it (below).

So two different products here but both of which I was very impressed with. I have recently purchased a golden egg bath bomb and a madame butterfly for my mother so I will see what these are like when she uses them!


Sunday, 2 March 2014

Live At The LG | Queen BEE

I am so lucky, I got to see the Queen herself again just the other night (third time now) and what a thrilling experience it was AGAIN!!!!!! The Queen being Beyonce of course. Let me just start by saying how obsessed I am with this woman, it is crazy, I think I tweet about her fine ass at least twice a day. I know she has a huge fan base but I am a devoted BEE fan through and through (dating back to the Destiny's Child days of course). When I heard she was returning to Birmingham I think I screamed with joy. Unfortunately for me when the tickets went on sale I was in Amsterdam so I didn't get the chance to sit at my laptop and currently refresh the ticket sale page, and as expected the tickets sold out in a matter of minutes! It was only thanks to my wonderful mother that I was able to get my hands on some tickets at a later date but obviously at a much bigger cost. Annoying I know but well worth breaking the bank over (she says now)..

My mother who has accompanied me for the past three years came along again with her best friend this time, but of course I lost them in the crowd. My friends and I however got right to the front (well near enough), four rows to be precise and as you can imagine, we had the most amazing view! I cannot begin to describe how beautiful this woman is, inside and outside, she literally takes my breath away. Her voice, her body and her dancing is always always on point! I love her new album and the heat was definitely turned up a notch this yet, a few more revealing outfits and saucy dance moves made this concert complete. All in all a brilliant night despite it finishing with BEE singing happy birthday to a member of the audience and not having an encore... Don't ask! I love you Miss Carter! 


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