Wednesday, 30 September 2015

How to help yourself become a morning person

I never used to be the best at early mornings. Perhaps it's because I've been living the student life for the past three years and it's basically the law to be bad at getting up before 10am. Now, however, I have joined the adult world, filled with 6:30am wake-up calls and very little time in the evenings to call my own (before I make a joke about how hardcore I am at being in my twenties and fall asleep some time around 9pm). The struggle is real, my friends, but here are some handy tips to help you through (and ensure you don't turn up to work with your underwear outside of your clothing...):

1. Prepare the night before
Rushing to get things done in time to get out of the door will only stress you out. By preparing things like your outfit, make up, accessories, bag and any food before you catch your z's the previous night, you'll have plenty of time in the morning to properly wake up and catch yourself up so you're ready to start the day.

2. Replace your alarm clock with Sleep Cycle
There is nothing worse on this planet than alarm clocks. But Sleep Cycle is different. Sleep Cycle uses the censors in your iPhone to monitor how you sleep and is able to pick the best time to wake you based on your time period preference. It becomes a lot easier to rise and shine when you're not shocked awake, and the wide array of pleasant alarm sounds within this app is a welcome change.

3. Let the light in
Getting up and getting going quickly is the biggest favour you can do for yourself, and letting in that all important vitamin D will only help perk you up, it's scientifically proven so you have to believe me.

4. Get that H2O and O2
Breathe some fresh air into your lungs and get a nice cool glass of water down your throat (Nutritionists say it helps kick start your metabolism, you know). Don't you feel more awake just thinking about it?

5. Know your schedule
It's a good way to *ehem* get your head in the game (yasss High School Musical reference) if you look over your agenda for the day and plan what you need to do and where you need to be.

6. Make time for breakfast
It's true what they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It helps kick-start your system and powers it up again after a good nights sleep. There are loads of super quick and easy breakfast recipes online if you're not the cereal type, because being hangry is the worst.

7. All about that coffee
If you don't have time to sit down with a mug, put some in a to-go cup and drink it on your commute. Obviously, I'm not trying to get non-coffee drinkers to sign-up to a lifelong addiction to caffeine, but if you're already on the train, it's probably best to stay on board.

8. Pump some tunes
What's that? You don't have a kick-ass morning playlist on Spotify? Even if you just turn on the radio in your car, blaring some musica will help get that brain in action as you whip and nae nae while sitting at traffic lights. It's good to get your body moving and grooving, even if it does cause your fellow road users to raise their eyebrows at you...

Here's to early mornings and even earlier nights!
~ Eleanor xo

Friday, 25 September 2015

Link Love #6

If the Spice Girls taught me anything, it's that Girl Power is King. Or Queen? Whichever. So I'm loving seeing all this empowering women stuff surfacing all over the place, and anything with '#GirlBoss' written next to it is totally up my street. It's like Leslie Knope always said, "Hoes before bros. Ovaries before brovaries. Uteruses before duderuses".
  1. The latest news on the Pottermore relaunch. How mysterious and exciting... {via Hypable}

  2. 11 times Disney characters showed us all how to be the best BFFs {via Brit + Co}

  3. In the mood to feel inspired? Listen to the words of these wise gals #GirlBoss {via Self}

  4. How to make the perfect strawberry and banana smoothie, according to Pret {via Pret a Manger}

  5. Have a thing for picturesque front doors? This photographer has got you covered {via Town and Country}

  6. Ever wondered what your Starbucks order says about your choice in home decor? Well, wonder no more... {via Lonny}

  7. Prepare to wail while watching this fan-made video of all the emotions experienced in Pixar movies, a la 'Inside Out' {via Vimeo}

  8. 5 reasons why you should keep a journal (make it 6 if you count the need to buy more cute stationery!) {via Brit + Co}

  9. The secret to Anna Wintour's success is not what you may think {via Quartz}

  10. Because Anne Hathaway is (and always will be) the bee's metaphorical and literal knees, here's what we can learn from her (frankly fantastic) movies {via Career Girl Daily}
And if you need a bit of cheering up, on this day in exactly three months, it'll be Christmas Day. Holla!
~ Eleanor xo

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Advice About Job Hunting

Looking for your first adult job is unbelievably daunting. Picking up the phone to strangers telling you they've seen your CV online and feel you'd be perfect for a role they're recruiting for; your inbox being flooded with emails titled "1000 jobs in your area matching your search credentials" (quite how 'Forklift Driver' matched my search of "advertising account executive", I'll never know); and endless hours of waiting, searching, driving, smiling, lying, dressing smartly, re-working your résumé and so much more. Keeping your sanity is definitely no easy feat.

Still, I somehow made it out alive and I picked up some handy tips along the way:

1. Lose the bullshit
Every person looking for a job is "hard working", "a fast learner", and every other cliché under the sun, so don't waste space on your CV proving to an interviewer that you have zero individuality. Either provide relevant proof, or cut it out altogether. It's not an accomplishment to have "IT literate" on your CV anymore; this is 2015.

2. State your achievements loud and clear
Make the interviewer pay attention to you; I chose to create a small section on one side of my CV briefly listing four of my best (relevant) achievements. Interviewers won't read all the mindless body copy, but they will take notice if you state that an advertising campaign you helped create won an award in Antwerp.

3. Have confidence in yourself
This is something I struggled with; I still do, in fact. But once you realise that oh wait, you are ready and more than prepared to do this, it'll be so much easier to tackle any question an interviewer has for you.

4. Don't let the recruitment agencies boss you around
Or tell you what you want. I had one agency tell me which roles they'd be seeking out for me and neglected to hear when I tried to suggest otherwise. This is your career, don't let someone else tell you what you should be doing.

5. The perfect job does not exist
But the one that's perfect for you, will absolutely find you.

6. Be prepared to put up a fight
I have no shame in admitting that I fought very very hard for the job I have now and I don't regret casting my ego aside for one moment. In order to get this role I had three separate interviews and wrote an email to the MD stating the reasons why, although they had doubts about hiring me, they really needn't. Turns out they liked my ballsy attitude and my desire to not give up, and lo-and-behold, I now get to call them my managers.

7. Always ask at least one question at the end of an interview
Something I realised far too late, frankly. It is so important to ask your interviewer questions, either about the job, the company or what you can expect from your life at work. By doing this, you're showing you're interested, you're keen and you have a drive to impress. Just make sure they aren't questions you should A) already know the answer to, or B) something they've already covered. (Or C) "What's the salary" - that'll get you struck off straight away).

Job hunting is one of the most unenjoyable experiences there is, but what you learn will be invaluable.
~ Eleanor xo

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

An ode to Autumn

*Picks up handful of crisp golden oak tree leaves and throws them in the air*. Oh autumn, you are my favourite. Admittedly, autumn rarely looks like those idyllic photos on Pinterest (you know the ones), but I love it nonetheless. I mean, I love wearing flip flops and applying after-sun like it's nobody's business as much as the next girl, but my heart really lies with Autumn. Why, you ask? Well, for these very reasons:

  • Freshly made soups. When you're not even ill!
  • That light layer of frost on your car. Until you remember you have to scrape it off.
  • Hot chocolate all day every day. Without feeling even remotely weird about it.
  • Blanket scarves. Or in fact, any type of scarf. I pine for scarf wearing weather all year round.
  • Boots. Knee high, ankle, heeled, unheeled, black, brown, grey; you name it, they're in.
  • Baths. Because why stand up in a shower when you can wallow in bubbles?
  • Candles. Absolutely and unapologetically necessary. 
  • Knitwear. And totally owning the 'my grandma made this for me' look.
  • Cinnamon spiced EVERYTHING.
  • FOOD IN GENERAL. I'm not ok.
  • Being able to cancel plans and blame it on the weather.
  • The fact it's socially acceptable to stay in bed and watch films all day.
  • Casseroles. Yes, we're back on the food bandwagon.
  • The colours. Who wants to wear brights when you've got earth tones?
  • Bundling up. I'm a lover of layers. There's far too much exposing of limbs during Summertime.
  • Being able to see your breath. Because I'm actually still a child.
  • Strictly Come Dancing. Because I'm also eighty.
  • The return of all your favourite shows. I'm looking specifically at you, Once Upon A Time...
  • Having the heating on. And feeling like a toasty burrito at night.
  • Everyone starts getting a bit festive. *hums quietly* Holidays are coming, holidays are coming...
  • Constantly using the phrase "I don't know where this year's gone!". Because time passes and we're always so surprised...
  • Constantly using the phrase "Gosh, isn't it dark!". Because even at midday, this comment still stands.
  • The return of those really strange and unintentionally humorous Bonfire Night safety adverts.
  • Fireworks. And seeing pictures of them all over Instagram.
  • Waving farewell to leg shaving season. Feel free not to hurry back!
  • Conkers. They remind me of my youth. And that one time I threaded a load onto a piece of string and made a snake. 
  • The foliage in general. And how great it looks on Instagram.
  • That cool chill in the air. And always being told when your nose has gone bright red.
  • The ever-growing desire to bake things or make dishes from scratch. Well, why not?
  • Wellies. Because who doesn't want to jump in puddles on a rainy afternoon?
Well this list ended up being longer than I anticipated... turns out I really do love autumn.
~ Eleanor xo

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Don't leave home without: The Fresher Essentials

If you're preparing to fly the nest for the first time and your mum is anything like mine, she'll already have bought you a duplicate of everything that currently sits in your home. You may be wondering why all this is necessary, but soon it'll all become clear. Except perhaps why you need not one, but two different salad serving sets. That never does make sense.

Here's what I deem as fresher essentials, for the "first time away from home"er:

1. A baking tray
Yes, everyone will have one, but they're pretty easy to scorch/melt/inflict irreparable damage on, so, better safe than sorry.

2. A first aid kit
Sure, you'll feel like a total nerd having a homemade kit in your drawer, but you'll be grateful for the industrial sized pack of paracetamol after particularly heavy nights of *ehem* 'studying'.

3. Bulk buying non-perishable food
Foods that you can store in a cupboard, use at will, and feel safe in the knowledge that the use by date is no less than five years away is super handy to have, but it can be quite expensive to buy, so nick it from your parents while you can. Don't listen to what anyone else says, you can never have too many tins of baked beans.

4. A mattress protector
Your halls won't provide one but you will absolutely not want to sleep on a bed without a protector. Not to put you off or anything, but how often do you think these mattresses get replaced? (I think one of my friends said they had three on their mattress at one point).

5. Stationery
You are there to go to lectures, after all.

6. Laundry stuff
Because your mum is X amount of miles away and she can't do it for you. Make sure you bring a laundry basket, a clothes horse and any other washing material you may need. My mum packed me an iron. I think I used it about once in my entire three years. Ain't nobody got time for that.

7. Extension leads
Because plug sockets are either non-existent or in the weirdest, most unhelpful of places.

8. Clothes hangers
Because unlike a hotel, hangers for your clothes are not supplied. Half my clothes had to be folded because I forgot hangers. It was a dark time.

9. Things that remind you of home
Like photos, mementos, posters or general knick-knacks that you can plaster all over your bare, magnolia coated walls (using Blu-Tack that'll forever leave a mark).

10. A printer
An expensive addition but potentially more helpful in the long run. Especially when you want to print off notes or presentation slides and the university library wants to charge you five pence per sheet for the privilege.

And don't forget, if you're bringing along a television set, be sure to buy a TV license, otherwise you could land yourself in hot water.
~ Eleanor xo

*If in doubt, pack your mum in your suitcase too. She'll know what to do.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

A 21st birthday gift guide: Under £20

3. 'Style Remains' brass sign - Room 356 - £7.95
4. Alphabet Scented Candle - The Country Candle Company - £5.99
5. Giraffe Trinket Dish - Anthropologie - £16.00
6. Q&A A Day - Amazon - £10.49
7. Twister Picnic Blanket - ASOS - £17.99
8. Monogrammed Notepad - Anthropologie - £8.00
9. Personalised Pink And Gold Gift Boxed Pencils - The Letteroom - £7.95
10. Chocolate Make up Set - Chocolate on Chocolate - £5.99
13. Enamel Initial Charm Necklace - J&S Jewellery - £16
14. Spotty China Letter Mug - The Letteroom - £13.95
15. Delightful Summer Collection - L'Occitane - £16.00

There's something super exciting about turning twenty-one, it's widely seen as a 'milestone' year (and is, coincidentally, the age my sister has turned for the last four years). It could be down to the subconscious knowledge that you can now rent a car in Europe and legally drink alcohol in America, but who can be sure. It's an exciting time for everyone. So long as you don't dwell on the fact that there's absolutely no going back and a crippling mortgage and unachievable student loan repayments are right on the horizon!

When it comes to your friends, you want to give them something fun, memorable and that totally sums up your friendship. And that doesn't break the bank. Your beloved new twenty-one year old deserves the world and more, and obviously, a great night out and lots of unattractive selfies surfacing on Facebook the morning after. But to get the party started, why not try some of these fancy finds, all for under £20 - and not a gift card in sight!

Happy twenty-one-ing!
~ Eleanor xo

Friday, 11 September 2015

Link Love #5

Since beginning my 9am to 5:30pm job, I've been attempting to get myself into an easy and stress free morning routine so I don't spend my fourty-minute drive to work feeling frazzled and worrying if I've forgotten something really important. Of course, the internet always delivers when one needs advice (though, maybe not if it's a medical question and you're on WebMD; we all know that never ends well...).
  1. Eight super handy (and unexpected) sun burn remedies that aren't after sun. Where was this post two months ago!? {via Self}

  2. Nine things successful people do at the weekend to chase away the Sunday night blues {via Levo}

  3. Three totally legit reasons why we should all embrace our flaws. It's like Hannah Montana used to say: "nobody's perfect" {via Wandeleur}

  4. Waking up early and feeling chipper is a rarity, so why not try some of these ten ways to ensure you wake up happy {via Get The Gloss}

  5. This surprisingly true (and relatable) quote from Elizabeth Gilbert {via Clementine Daily}

  6. Hipster Barbie is taking Instagram by storm - I actually really dig what the photographer is doing with this {via Peta Pixel}

  7. September 1st sees all of Britain's witches and wizards return to Hogwarts for the new school year. I may not have been on the train, but here are the best #BackToHogwarts tweets {via Time}

  8. A peek at what McDonald's breakfasts look like in different countries. Digging Mexico's choice! {via Huffington Post}

  9. As if you needed any more reasons to love the Queen of England. A bagpiper as an alarm clock? Totally ghetto, Ma'am {via Refinery29}

  10. The hilarious (and out-of-this-world adorable) results of dogs in a photobooth. A seriously uplifting charity initiative {via Up Shout}
Until next time,
~ Eleanor xo

Thursday, 10 September 2015

The 2016 Agenda

Lists, organisation, planning, ordering and colourful pens make me one very happy camper. Embarrassingly so. I dare any of you to find anything more satisfying than crossing something off your to-do list. *wallows in the warm feeling of completing a to-do list*. So naturally, I'm a lover of diaries. Or as our American cousins call them, 'agendas'.

Not only do I love planning my life down to a tee (Yes, I have every kind of personal finance and budgeting app on my phone), I'm also a sucker for stationery. How do I know this? Because a few weeks ago I spent £21 getting this beauty shipped all the way from the U S of A.

I'll be honest, I've wanted a agenda ever since I first saw them on (Lauren Conrad being my eternal idol, ever since her days on The Hills. Wow I miss that show). So when I saw their 2015/2016 agendas had just been released (and realised that it coincided with the start of my new executive job) it seemed like a sign sent from above. It would've absolutely been morally wrong not to buy one...

The immense excitement I felt when I arrived home to find this waiting for me was borderline silly; but it's so much more than a diary. The designs, layout, colouring, illustrations and everything in between have had so much thought and attention put into them that it is absolutely the most perfect receptical (love that word) of all my sporadic handwritten plans, notes and 'to do's'. I just love this thing, I'll never forget anything important ever again. Well, that is, unless I spend so long staring at the designs in awe...

~ Eleanor xo

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Photo Diary: The August Round Up

A little slice of Morocco ~ my sister knows me so well 
Party bubbles and a slice of cake after celebrating my friend's 21st! @ Hoebridge Golf Course, Woking
Forever and always my happy place (because I'm eighty) @ RHS Wisley Gardens
The most beautiful bouquet of flowers sent by my Godparents
When your sister presents you with this on your birthday. So much love.
Damn straight I ate a slice of this for breakfast. My mum said I could!
Defeated after the MONSTROUS afternoon tea. #Amateurs. @ Aviator Hotel, Farnborough
When your cousins buy you gifts that reflect what you've written about on your blog. Genius (and super sweet!)
Popping out on my lunch break to have a natter with the Queen. Obvs. @ Windsor Castle, Windsor
I welcomed in August as any super-cool-hip-urban youth should, by standing next to my BFF in five inch heels and a potentially-too-short party dress waving my limbs in the air (like I so totally did not care) to the absolute classic that is, the macarena. Followed by, of course, the cha cha slide. Well, how else does one celebrate a twenty-first birthday?! I feel like doing this really helped set the tone of the thirty-one days to come.

August was a time of lots of cake, lots of celebrations and lots of birthdays! Clearly December is a month in which people enjoy getting busy if you know what I mean... *cough*... Anyway; besides clogging my arteries with cakey goodness, I also took time to hang out in the lack off sun, visit my favourite farm shop (to stock up on my latest obsession: dark chocolate) and my favourite organic farm park (because what would a weekend be if it didn't involve fresh produce?) and play this song on repeat.

I also had to splurge on some fancy new office gear because I started my new job! You can read all about it here, but I'm having the best time and I can't believe how lucky I am. If you ever find yourself near Windsor, be sure to stop and take a look around, it is for real the most beautiful place to spend 37.5 hours a week.

Autumn creeps closer by the day (the season, I mean, not some random girl) and I am super excited for all the festivities to begin!
~ Eleanor xo
We all discovered the true identity of 'A' (I'm still not over it); the Great British Bake Off returned, and so did their hilarious twitter commentary; Selfridges London opened their Christmas department (yolo); and I learnt the hard way what a forty-minute commute everyday via car does to your sanity...

Friday, 4 September 2015

Recent Purchases: Workwear

1. Calbourne Cord Trousers, Jack Wills - £49.50 £8.50
2. Oversized Shirt, Zara - £25.99
3. Stripe Dobby Skirt, Gap - Sold Out
4. Windowpane Boyfriend Shirt, Gap - £34.95
5. Slim-Fit Cotton Trousers (Navy), Mango - £19.99 £12.99
6. Miss Fancy Pants, Essie - £7.99
7.  Slim-Fit Cotton Trousers (Light Beige), Mango - £19.99 £12.99
8. Fitted Boyfriend Oxford Shirt, Gap - £34.95.
9. Calvert Slipper Shoe, Jack Wills - £49.50 £24

There are two very exciting things about getting a new job:
1) New clothes!
2) Having a salary that means you can afford said new clothes!

Being a jeans and tee devotee (how musical), I have a very, perhaps even borderline unhealthy, casual wardrobe. I like to throw things on that are comfortable, clean and usually dark coloured. Easy peezy. However, that kind of laziness, ehem, 'style', doesn't really fly in an office environment, so I knew I had to do something about it and hopped online to my favourite stores to kit myself out with responsible adult level office attire.

Luckily for me, I'm not heading into a suited and booted emporium, but I do need to make an effort - especially when meeting with clients (no matter how much I love my ripped jeans, even I know they aren't boardroom appropriate). I love some of the things I've found, and what can I say, I'm a sucker for a good bargain. And apparently, shirts with stripes...

~ Eleanor xo

Thursday, 3 September 2015

August Favourites

This post comes to you as I internally happy dance over the realisation that my all-time favourite season is right around the corner! Soon life will be an endless cycle of cinnamon spiced everything, chelsea boots, crisp leaves under foot, Saturday evening casseroles, chunky knit scarves and Strictly Come Dancing. Well, so long as we ignore the tiny fact that it'll mean I'll be driving to and and from work in pitch black, which isn't so appealing...

Here's what I've been loving during this 'supposedly pre-autumnal but feeling very much autumnal' month:
  1. Laverstoke Park Farm Buffalo Milk Ice Cream
    Yes, when I found out my mum chucked away the remnants of my last pot, I drove an hour down the motorway to buy a replacement. Like any twenty-first century youth, I am a lover of ice cream, but this stuff doesn't even compare. The buffalo milk gives it a much creamier texture than those made with cows milk, and apparently it's actually better for you (or it's easier to digest or something); there are a load of different flavours but I cannot get enough of this coffee one. Ice cream will never be the same again!

  2. Jack Wills Atherlow Blouse
    I have worn this to death this past month because not only do I love it beyond words, it's also super comfortable and so easy to wear. I did purchase this same top in white, but then Jack Wills emailed me to say that although they'd taken my money and told me it was in stock in my size, that was all a huge lie and my day was ruined. So I'll just have to keep wearing this navy one. But I guess I'm ok with that...

  3. Authentic Moroccan Scented Candle
    My sister went to Morocco and all I got was this super cute candle! Seriously, how b-e-a-u-tiful is this thing? I'm so in love with its design that I almost don't want to burn it. Apparently, my sister picked it up in the 'Medina' in Marrakesh so it's 100% authentic, original and 'artisan', if you will. Even when the wax does run out, I'm so going to keep the jar for decorative purposes.

  4. Ren Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Gel
    *Hangs head in shame* The beauty bloggers got to me. I actually really dig this stuff; I've never used a cleansing gel before but I'd say I'm definitely converted - it's light, foamy and super quick and easy to add to your routine. I went for the sensitive version because my skin can be quite temperamental and I didn't want to risk using unnecessary harsh chemicals, but this formula is free of all the bad stuff and is gentle enough to use every day and keeps my skin happy and healthy.

  5. Cafe Noir Biscuits
    I don't need to tell anyone about my love of biscuits, because, spoiler alert: I love biscuits. Unless they have fruit in them, in which case, no thank you. I picked these up on a whim because as we all know, I am one crazy and wild individual who cannot be tamed. I think you're supposed to eat these actually with a cup of coffee but I always seem to forget that and just scoff them whenever I so desire. Good job, Mr McVities!

  6. Turning twenty-one
    I could probably do without my dad constantly reminding me that I'm now only nine years away from thirty, but alas, I am now the ripe old age of viente-uno. And to be honest, I'm feeling pretty good; there's no grey hair, no more wrinkles, no aching limbs or an inability to control my bladder. So I'd call that a success! I've uploaded posts about what I got up to on the day, what I got given andddd the most enjoyable afternoon tea ever - why not have a read?
In my opinion, September is a month of huge change, so no matter what you're starting, completing or joining, I hope you have a blast! And if it involves a school run, please try not to be on the road when I am, I am prone to slight road rage...
~ Eleanor xo

Bonus: Favourite TV show to binge watch: Orphan Black