Thursday, 26 November 2015

I'm a Graduate!

Greetings dear ones, the person typing this is officially a university Bachelor of Arts graduate! (She's also full of pasta because she just consumed her own body weight at an Italian restuaurant because immense hunger took over). She also has some pretty hefty war wounds on her feet. She also needs to stop talking in the third person. Weirdo.

Graduation day was kind of insane, and frankly, passed way too quickly. It's all a bit of a blur and before you know it you're piling back into your car (full of Italian food) wondering where the day went and how you'll ever walk again.

From what I remember, it went a little something like this: you arrive, a tiny lady dresses you in your robes, she puts on your cap (it's really tight), you get professional photos taken (it's really awkward), you're ushered out, you explode with excitement when you see your friends, you pose for more photos (so so many photos), you leg it through the rain, you get registered, you find your seat, you sit and listen, you get called up, you concentrate on remembering what you name is and how to walk, you get given a degree (and in my case, a surprise Digital Marketing award), you sit through the rest of the ceremony, you clap (a lot), you parade out, you take more photos, you throw your cap in the air, you have some 'champagne', you say goodbye, you slip into your flat shoes and grumble about how you've never felt pain like this, you return your robes, you leave, it's over. You feel almost bereft.

But let's not dwell on how much I wish I could relive the day, here's a few fun tidbits for you:

Things they don't tell you about graduation that you have to learn the hard way:
1. Robes are really sodding heavy and will take any opportunity to strangle you
2. Attempting to pee whilst wearing said robes is a Herculean task
3. You don't suit hats
4. The ceremony is actually really long and you're clapping the success of people you've never heard of
5. Everyone else will give in an wear flats while walking across the stage. You'll realise too late.
6. It's actually quite stressful
7. You will want to cut your own feet off at the end of the day
8. You'll feel really emotional when they play a showreel of life at the university
9. Hosting a ceremony when there's a gale force storm going on is not ideal #StormBarney
10. It'll remind you how much you miss spending everyday with your best friends
11. You'll be too nervous to eat, but once the scary part is over, you'll be so ravenous you can barely stand 
12. You have no idea whose hand you're shaking
13. You'll be forced to wear Ugg boots to the office the next day because that's all your feet can manage

And finally: 14. It'll be a day you will never ever forget.
~ Eleanor xo

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Gratituesday // 24.11.15

This past week has potentially been the most joyous of my entire life (if we don't count that time when I got to sit and watch wild Greater Flamingos chillaxing in their natural habitat) and it's mahoosively uplifted my spirits. I've been given so many reasons to feel happy in myself and nothing beats a healthy boost of internal morale. I'm beginning to think maybe 'Motivational Speaker' is my true calling in life.
  1. Reuniting with my best friends for a celebration to end all celebrations! And then getting to applaud each other walking across the stage to receive our well deserved degrees.
  2. Discovering that I was one of three students to receive the 'Direct Marketing Award for Digital Excellence' at my Graduation Ceremony and feeling on top of the world.
  3. Hobbling into work with near-broken feet to massive congratulations, a card and some delicious looking Hotel Chocolat goodies from everyone.
  4. Using the above achievements as an excuse to treat myself to my first Jo Malone candle (I went for Nectarine Blossom and Honey) with the help of the sweetest attendant.
  5. Completing my three months probation period at work and becoming a fully-fledged employee (with hundreds of business cards).
  6. Watching the GINORMOUS Christmas tree being put up right outside Windsor Castle and feeling unmeasurably Christmassy. I can't wait to see it all lit up! 
  7. Being invited by one of our automotive clients to attend an 'agency day' to learn more about the brand and to test drive some of their cars. Roll on December Third!
  8. Discovering Sky Movies has an entire channel dedicated to Christmas films (this gif is me)
  9. Enjoying my first Starbucks #RedCup filled with Honey & Almond Hot Chocolate while catching up with my gal pals.
  10. Snuggling up after long (usually cold and rainy) days in my new super cosy blanket from Oysho (it also has a bear on it).
A lot of these things seem to revolve around the same theme; but what can I say, I'm a creature of habit.
~ Eleanor xo

Friday, 20 November 2015

Link Love #10

  1. Ten places to visit when you want to relive your childhood. Though sadly, they're not all so accessible {via Brit + Co}

  2. A recipe for homemade pumpkin ice cream. Is this genius or an autumn overkill? {via The Gracious Pantry}

  3. An amazing array of pictures showing how amazing Obama is around kids. He is so cool {via Buzzfeed}

  4. Twenty-five of the best things Anna Kendrick has ever said. She is goals {via Divine Caroline}

  5. What to do in the morning if you want to boost your creativity. Bet you never thought you'd have a scientist telling you to watch a cat video on a Monday morning {via Brit + Co}

  6. Five things that are (apparently) total normal occurrences after university. I'm glad I'm not the only one experiencing these! {via Career Girl Daily}

  7. A recipe for kale Caesar salad which looks hella tasty {via PureWow}

  8. This original Vogue short featuring Jennifer Lawrence is yet another reason to wish she was your BFF {via Vogue}

  9. Quite literal handy tips for this time of year; 13 ways to help strengthen your nails {via Hello Natural Co.}

  10. Thirteen life lessons we learnt from The Simple Life. I miss this show! {via Who What Wear}
Keep it real, amigos.
~ Eleanor xo

Thursday, 19 November 2015

What I've learnt about business so far

This week marks three months since I began my new life as a digital marketing account executive (which means I've passed my probation period and I'm a fully fledged member of the team! #balling) and if I think about it, it's been a pretty crazy ride so far. I've been involved in some hella cool things and had to maneuver my way through some tricky challenges (surprisingly, it ain't all plain sailing). This is only the beginning of course, but here's what I've learnt so far (besides the fact that business cards are like an albatross around your neck):

1. Every client thinks they're your only client
It's normal practice to pick up the phone to a client and hear them say "oh hey, yeah we'd like you to build this super cool awesome mega app with both iOS and Android capabilities and it needs to do this, this and this and be ready in two days time". Right. Let me just magic this out of my behind.

2. Clients are more often than not, completely wrong
But you will absolutely never tell them. Go figure.

3. They are also the sneakiest individuals you'll ever meet
They'll try and weasel their way around getting more out of you than their contract allows. Kudos to them for trying, but directors aren't idiots, so that ain't gonna fly.

4. It's all about tact
You want your client to like you (and by extension, the agency), so you laugh at their jokes, ask how their kids are doing and never tell them how you really feel.

5. Keep your eyes wide open
Everyone has their own agenda, even people who should be on the same side as you. 

6. People talk about their kids a lot
Which is super awkward and hard to relate to when you don't have your own.

7. It's not a 9am-5:30pm way of life
Marketing is a twenty-four hour, three-hundred-sixty-five day job. Digital doesn't sleep, so neither should you.

8. Sticking to an NDA is really really hard
You know something is super awesome when you have to sign a three-page document legally binding your mouth shut. And that just makes it a thousand times harder not to tell everyone you know.

9. A well organised inbox is the most therapeutic of things
My inbox is divided into six mailboxes and forty-one sub-mailboxes (yes I've counted them). Everything has its place and I can always find exactly what I need. It's magnificently reassuring and just generally good for the soul.

10. It's ok to make mistakes
I don't think you ever stop learning in a job like this, and I think that's one of the beautiful things about it.

~ Eleanor xo

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

What's In My Bag: Graduation Edition

THE DAY IS FINALLY HERE! MY UNIVERSITY GRADUATION! The most important, exciting, enthralling, exhilarating, nerve-racking day I will ever live through. Well, until the next most important exciting, enthralling, exhilarating, nerve-racking day I will ever live through.

I've experienced an array of emotions in the lead up to this day; one minute I feel I may explode from excitement, the next I want to hide away in a distant cave over the anxiety that someone may show up wearing the same dress as me. Gulp.

And even better than that, my weather app is telling me with no uncertainty that it will be bucketing it down with rain when my friends and I will be teetering around on skinny heels, with bare legs and make-up that will almost certainly run at the mere sight of a rain drop. I'm such a positive thinker, I know.

So in preparation for a such a historic day, here's what I'll be taking with me:
  1. Clutch bag: for holding all those necessities (while my parents carry everything else, duh!)
  2. A nail file: because broken nails equal sad face emoji.
  3. Heels: I'll be wearing these until I can take the inevitable pain no more.
  4. Make up: so I can touch up on the go. Bad gal lashes are the bomb.
  5. Fluffy socks: for post-ceremony comfiness (keeping it seasonal with snowflakes, yo).
  6. Flat shoes: I mean, do I even need to explain why these will be kept close to hand... or feet?
  7. A snack: because if Jennifer Lawrence has taught me anything, it's that one should always be properly fed.
  8. Perfume and lip balm: these just seemed like a good idea. And they're tiny so they fit in my bag.
  9. Hair ties: for when my lion mane gets too much and a top knot becomes needed.
  10. A selfie stick: admittedly hugely embarrassing, but how else are we going to get the best selfies?
  11. Umbrella: because my weather app tells me it's going to rain. -sob- Also, I live in Britain so, obvs.
  12. Hand sanitiser: lots of hand shaking will be going down today and germs are not invited.
  13. Phone: so I can tweet about how excited I am and how dope I look in this mortarboard #LOL
  14. Hair grips and safety pins: for attaching my cap to my head and my sash to my dress.
  15. Paracetamol and plasters: things to patch me up while I try not to weep.
And once the ceremony is over, the photos are taken and all other festivities are complete (and my cap and gown are begrudgingly handed back -boooo-), I will most likely be nursing painful feet and chilly limbs - but don't worry, I've got all that covered too (in the form of cosy sweatpants, fluffy socks and an oversized hooded jumper)... What can I say, I like to be prepared.

Wish me luck, everyone!
~ Eleanor BA (Hons) xo

Friday, 13 November 2015

An Autumnal Weekend Morning Routine

I usually wake up on a Saturday morning the way I imagine a bear emerges in the Spring after a long winter of hibernation - absolutely no idea where I am, what day it is, what time it is, or what my name is. After I manage to get my bearings (ha!) and establish it's 2015 and I'm wearing pajamas, I fumble around to find my iPad to check the time. It always seems to be around 7:50am, which means one of two things: 1) It's the weekend 2) My alarm failed me and I'm extremely late for work.

Thankfully, today it is the former; so I grab my phone, unplug the charger and observe my SleepCycle statistics for that night. Normally it tells me I haven't slept well. Shock. Then it's onto Timehop where I mentally curse the person I was on Twitter six years ago (one of today's hop highlights was "damn you wizards of waverly place and hannah montana, i need to revise!". Admittedly, if we remove the revision part, that sounds like something I'd post even today... but I digress). Then I check my mailbox; I tend to read my Quartz Daily Brief on my iPhone because I'm way too impatient to load up my laptop to check the latest news.
Time for a good stretch to put all those bones back into place and head to the bathroom; I'm one of those people who can't function unless they have a clean face (anyone else the same?). Once that's done it's on with my warm cosy slippers and down the stairs to chug a glass of water and boil up some coffee (one spoon of Douwe Egberts Pure Gold + skimmed milk + three teaspoons of Starbucks Vanilla Syrup + hot water = perfection).

I then attempt to precariously carry my mug back upstairs without spilling anything, light a scented candle (lately my candle of choice is Rain Washed Linen from Urban Market Candles), snuggle under my duvet and catch up on the latest episode of How to Get Away With Murder. This show is tantalizingly good!
Once I'm all caught up on various TV shows, what's been going down on social media and I've established there's no other way for me to procrastinate getting up properly, I head back to the bathroom and jump in a steamy hot shower; hair care and skin care inclusive, obvs.

Picking an outfit for the day takes a stupidly long amount of time, especially considering I usually end up wearing the same thing. Recently it's been my favourite Gap girlfriend jeans, a basic tee and an oversized grandpa cardigan. Simple, comfy, cosy, fab.
With very few exceptions, I go make-up free at the weekend to give my skin and eyes a well deserved break, so the only thing going on my face is moisturiser... and an array of other products that help protect my entire body from the cold.

Until finally, it's time for some breakfast! (whew!) I can never resist my favourite bitesize Honey Nut Shredded Wheat with blueberries, and on this occasion, a chopped plum (aren't I fancy). I tend to eat at the dining room table so I can catch up with my parents and plan the day ahead. My Saturdays of late tend to include running errands in my trusty Fiat 500, buying copious amounts of fresh produce and baking with spelt. It is marvelous!
You'll probably have clocked onto the running theme of things being "my favourite", that's because I am a firm believer that weekends should include nothing but your favourite things.
~ Eleanor xo

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Photo Diary: The October Round Up

These were the perfect way to say "au revoir" to Summer
This display spoke to me on a spiritual level @ Squires Garden Centre, Milford
JETS JETS JETS @ Wembley Stadium, London
Sneaky little bit of mid-season sale shopping - it's purely coincidental that they're mostly all shirts with stripes...
This display smelt DIVINE (and maybe a little strong...) @ RHS Wisley Plant Centre
White converse on a muddy day, cos that's just how I roll @ RHS Wisley Gardens
I MADE THIS (and it was seriously tasty)
Some guy caught me taking this pic but omg, pink leaves, am I right? @ Windsor, Berkshire
Half term meant Windsor became tourist central, so I took the opportunity to explore the quiet back streets @ Church Lane, Windsor
Naturally, I'm writing this while curled up on my sofa in my favourite seasonal Jack Wills leggings and a grandpa cardigan. The sun is setting outside the window and I'm attempting to focus on this detective show playing on NowTV and not on giving into the Sunday evening blues. This is adulthood, after all.

I should probably apologise for all the pictures of my shoes this month (I look like an actual giant, I know), but the ground is just way more photogenic at this time of the year than anything else; plus, I just love those dalmatian print loafers (though sadly they're not the most comfortable). Clearly I've been sniffing too many seasonal scented candles recently...

While the month started with a rather overdue lunch at Nandos to celebrate Chicken Month and a trip to Londres for an American football match, much of the newsworthy occurrences this month involve work (because I literally spend 97% of my time at work, or in the town where my office is). I got to partake in my first set of 'work drinks' in the local pub (which burns SCENTED CANDLES OMG) complete with sharing platters and goss about company life. The company also finally unveiled their new branding - which is luckily so snazzpants that I've been able to still quite like it even after having it burnt into my eyelids now that every single notebook, pencil, mug, website, umbrella, signage, bottle opener, business card and email signature has been bedazzled with the new black and gold identity. I can't express how important I now feel carrying business cards around with me everywhere. Not that I have a clue what to do with them or who I should give them too...

Also, I took up baking. It's swell.

~ Eleanor xo
Britain started charging 5p for plastic bags and everyone LOST their shit; Chanel Airlines became the Fashion Week equivalent of *mic drop*; Adele resurfaced with a monumental smash hit that I want to replay for the rest of my life and BST ended with this hilarious reminder of how to change the various clocks in your life.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Link Love #9

Apparently, the world wastes 18,000 tonnes of pumpkins every year after Halloween, so I'm feeling pretty chuffed that I managed to use mine (sans strange carved face of an emoji) as a prop in quite a few blog photos. Waste not, want not, as they say!
  1. So there's a town in the Netherlands with no roads and it sounds totally balling {via Sunday Chapter}

  2. The world's most beautiful books to showcase on your bookshelf. I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but unf {via Apartment Therapy}

  3. Ten villages to visit in Portgual {via Hand Luggage Only}

  4. This recipe for peanut butter, banana and honey granola is speaking to me on a spiritual level {via Two Peas and Their Pod}

  5. How to use coffee grounds around the house - kinda wanna put them in my hair now... {via Pure Wow}

  6. In honour of Prince Harry's thirtieth birthday, here's thirty reasons why he's the best royal {via Town and Country}

  7. A quick fix for removing dark stubborn nail polish stains - I definitely need to remember this {via Pure Wow}

  8. How to function at work when you've got almost no sleep {via Inc}

  9. Seventeen men reveal what makes them cry. This is actually kind of moving {via Cosmopolitan}

  10. Thirty times Harry Potter actually accurately described adolescence. In between all the wizarding badassery, obvs {via Refinery29}
Keep it real, homies.
~ Eleanor xo

Thursday, 5 November 2015

The Strangest Things About Staying in a Hotel

So I stayed in a hotel a few weekends ago (how quickly time doth fly), and as this is something I don't often do, I'm always surprised by how strange the concept really is. I mean, in what universe is it the done thing to fall asleep with a breakfast menu right next to your head? And why does the window only open to about a centimetre wide when there's clearly more chance of me suffocating to death through lack of fresh air than there is of me trying to jump out of it? But let us observe...

1. Someone makes your bed for you
Obviously, we all semi make our beds before the maids arrive because we cannot bare the thought of them thinking we're complete slobs.

2. Sometimes you get free toiletries
One hotel I stayed at had The White Company toiletries in the bathroom. Obviously, I stashed them ALL.

3. Having a key card to open your door
I never allow myself to be chief key-card guardian as I'm petrified I'll lose it. Oh real keys, where for art thou?

4. Feeling like the security surrounding keeping the tiny kettle attached to your room is greater than any kind of security the hotel has for its guests

5. Having a kettle in your room, full stop
People would think you a bit odd if you kept a kettle in your room at home (and frankly, rather lazy), but in a hotel? Why, it's expected! It wouldn't shock me if people demanded refunds on rooms that came sans-kettle.

6. Everything is labelled
The windows, the doors, the pillows, the soap, the TV, everything! It's like the owners think you're an alien from another planet who doesn't quite know what a pillow does.

7. Sometimes you get toilet roll with a pointed tip
Hats off to the people trying to make me feel hella fancy when I'm doing my business.

8. Being offered a 'turn down'
TURN DOWN FOR WHAT *do do do dooo*. There's nothing odder than a man turning up at your door asking what time you'd like to be turned down. When this happened to me, I didn't actually know what it was so I just said "umm, about seven-thirty?".

9. Getting bathroom envy
It doesn't matter where you go, you will always wish the bathroom you find was your own. Unless of course, it's gross.

10. There are never ever any plug sockets
Why are there only ever two plug sockets in your hotel room when you have seventy-five gadgets to charge? And why are they always in the most unhelpful of places? It's like they want to force you to talk to the person you're with, or alternatively, remind you how alone you are.

And don't even get me started on the incredibly awkward foxtrot that is, room service. Yikes.
~ Eleanor xo

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

October Favourites

I cannot tell you how difficult it was not to fill this post with foliage related favourites. BECAUSE THE LEAVES. THE LEAVES FALLING LIKE FEATHERS FROM THE TREES, LANDING SOFTLY NEXT TO THE CONKERS AND TURNING THE GREY PAVEMENT INTO A SEA OF GOLD, RED AND ORANGE. #MAGICAL. I genuinely don't understand how anyone can dislike this time of year. {Ed's note: Correction, when I find a mountain of leaves in my car foot-well, then I start to dislike this time of year...}

But let's get down to biz; besides fiery red leaves, I've been loving:
  1. Montezuma's Dark Chocolate GIANT Buttons
    I was sceptical when I first opened the packet, as I usually am with chocolate I've not tried before, because I'm like, totally normal... *ehem*. But holy mother of all that is green and edible, these buttons are a SENSATION (picture me yelling that while setting off a confetti canon and doing jazz hands while a banner reading "WINNER" unravels down from the ceiling). Obviously, sorta pricey (£2.99 for 180g) but because they're made from fair trade dark chocolate, you cannot scoff them in one go in fear of poisoning yourself, so they last ages! Genius!

  2. Pull and Bear knee high boots
    It's boot weather, y'all! (In case that wasn't already obvious). On a cold, rainy day, you can't beat slipping your feet into a pair of knee high boots, full well knowing that your socks have pandas printed on them and you've got a meeting to attend with someone important. No one need ever know, except you. It's thrilling! (And they're comfy and keep the rain out, but that's irrelevant).

  3. Apple and Elderflower candle from The Eval Candle Company
    Controversial, I know. Who do I think I am burning a floral Spring-like scented candle in the depths of dreary afternoons and foggy mornings?! Maybe this is my midlife crisis. Not the point. I just really love how light and uplifting this candle smells; it's the perfect morning scent and it's strong enough to fill my room (but doesn't make me want to choke to death). I am also a longtime enthusiast of candles housed in tins - I just love them.

  4. The Muppets TV Show
    For some ridiculous reason, the new Muppets show has been crucified by critics and I have never disagreed with something so strongly. Well, almost never. This show has me in stitches every single week - whether it's now the highlight of my Wednesday, I couldn't possibly say. (It totally is). I love that ABC have given the Muppets a chance to revive themselves and kick it up a notch to harmless adult entertainment - it's worked really well and it's seriously funny. 

  5. Laura Ashley Fresh Linen and Jasmine body wash
    I know, it sounds like a totally strange mix of ingredients (I kind of think maybe this was created by a happy accident - like when Jackson and Oliver created Cheese Jerky in that Hannah Montana episode). Either way, this smells so unbelievably clean that I might as well have bundled myself into the washing machine and set myself to a thirty-degree spin cycle (because I care about the environment - wash at 30, kids!). 
Get those Catherine Wheels at the ready, amigos! It's time for remember remember the fifth of November!
~ Eleanor xo