How to Survive as a Student (Clue: You Can’t)

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I write this moan today after receiving my student maintenance loan this morning: £1602.15. This is expected to last me until April, giving me £400.53 to cover living costs (housing, travel and food). ER HELLO. I also read this article from the Telegraph the other day with a headline stating that ‘Nearly a third of students waste their student loans on shopping sprees, drinking and gym memberships‘. And so my first question as a response to this is HOW THE FLIP CAN THEY DO THAT????????????????????????????????!

So this is my current situation, I’m a final year student studying in London. I’m not from London and don’t want to (or can, really) rely on my parents for extra financial help so I work. I have my blog, this, that gives me a tiny income occasionally and I’ve worked since I was 16 and try to work up to 21 hours a week to help. I’m lucky that I’ve worked for the same company for 5 years so they allow me to be flexible and even more lucky that I’m paid London Living Wage (£9.75) which is amazing. When I first moved to London I couldn’t afford to live in my University’s halls which was something crazy like £200 p/w so I moved into a house share in Stratford, East London. At this stage, it’s harder and harder to get a job when I graduate (particularly in the over saturated fashion industry which I know I chose to go into) therefore it’s a requirement that I intern. By intern I mean work for free – travel sometimes paid, lunch a rarity.

I’m in work 2/3 days a week, university 5/6 (10am-10pm days if I can), expected to intern combined with a sweet dose of rising living costs and this shrinking maintenance loan. I graduate with a comfortable £45k debt and a lot of uncertainty. I dunno, maybe everyone else is doing just fine and it could just be me but with all these articles going round I just wanted to let everyone know that it’s shitty over here and the real shit (post graduating) hasn’t even started yet. I know the education system is corrupt, but really?

Yours sincerely,

A really struggling third year

(I also recognise that in the grand scheme of things happening in the world my problems are nothing at all and that I should recognise my privilege that I’m allowed to gain further education….but still guys)


now playing: bad day daniel powter lmao

back to uni: KEEPING COOOOOOOL N CLEAN

Aloha amigos I write this surprisingly not from the library. I know, shock horror. I’m spicing up my week a bit by going to work, omg what a nice change of scenery! I love it! Without a doubt the amount of grey hair I have found on my hair since going back to uni has well and truly tripled and the stress is next level, I’m secretly enjoying it but I do feel like I’ve transformed into some major juggler of EVERYTHING. But so far I’ve learnt that you’ve gotta put the foundations in (buy the fruit and the bread from Morrisons), keep your room tidy and surround yourself with good people and it all makes it that tiny bit better. Here’s a post on how to do third year without dying! Please, read on!

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EAT A GOOD BREAKFAST GAL

And just like that, I feel like I transformed into my Mum. I can’t go to uni without having a good breakfast, from the point of view that I’m so poor that I really can’t afford to buy any food out but also that I’ve realised that my brain can’t function without it. Banana on toast with a bit of cinnamon is my classic, eggs on toast if I wanna push the boat out, a handful of cereal to eat on the way to the station if my life’s about to full apart any minute now (an unorganised bibliography on my mind). Tea is a staple, of course. I picked up a bag of Gingerbread Chai tea from the Bluebird Tea Co. when we visited Brighton and I can honestly say this is the winteriest, warmest tea in the world. I’ve also started watching the Gilmore Girls, so that’s been nice.dscf4885

ORGANISE YOUR LIFE AND IF YOU’RE GONNA SNACK, SNACK CLEAN

My notebook comes with me everywhere and currently holds my brain in paper form. What needs to go into my dissertation, FMP random thoughts and ideas and shopping lists. If I write everything down, at least I’m telling myself I’m organised (and there’s nothing better that crossing off something from a to-do list). Highlights and little page markers are currently a life staple and I’ve been jazzing up water with adding some fruit and things. Also note to self: put those £1 bags of M&M’s on offer DOWN.dscf4900

THERE IS LIFE BEYOND THE LIBRARY

Wait, what, is there? Possibly the thing I’ve found hardest since going back to uni. Beyond deadlines, worries about money means I’ve really shut myself away. Obviously a good thing as I’m getting my work done but when my head won’t stop spinning with ideas it’s nice to have a change of scenery and you know, see friends, the outside world, daylight. Make a point of taking like one afternoon off or an evening to not open the laptop and do something completely different! dscf4904

KEEPING CLEAN

In between taking it chill, putting a candle on, a facemask and painting ya nails, I’m taking one for the team galszzzz and raising awareness of Cystitis in collaboration with Canesten for their ‘Stay fresh, Freshers!’ campaign. Let’s face it, it’s blummin uncomfortable, not fun, and there are a lot better things in the world than feeling really paranoid and feeling like you want to wee all the time. Unless you’re taking a trip to the doctors, it’s worth bearing in mind that Canesten has your back and of course you can pick up in Boots. HAVE SAFE SEX AND STAY HEALTHY AND DON’T DIE XXXX

Love, Auntie Ellie (wise third year, the term wise used loosely)


now playing: forget lianne la havas/strangest feeling jessie ware/juramidam nick mulvey/hold on alabama shakes/breezeblocks alt j

This post has been supported by Canesten, but all thoughts are my own.

the (fashion) intern essentials

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This isn’t an advice post. Because anyone who feels like they must take advice from me must really be at a last resort. However, my favourite topic, INTERNING! I LOVE INTERNING! Now that’s something I can share a fair amount of advice on.  I covered the basics a couple of months ago, general things I’ve learned about London and being a student – but now you’ve got your internship and you’re all sorted, here’s some extra things I’ve learnt along the way and might appreciate! Or might not! Who knows!

Obviously it completely depends on what kind of internship your doing – if it’s banking you want to do this might not help that much tbh. However fashion PR, styling, events and bits like that, that’s the kind of direction I’m going in. Also let me know if there are any other posts you’d like to see regarding fashion interning/university etc or send over an email!

A notebook……and a pen

Invest in a notebook to use at every internship. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING – that little tip you’re told about using Fashion Monitor, the answers to every question you ask, that lady’s email address who you just met who you’d love to work with one day…………

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Download it. But the chances are you already have it. From all the random addresses that you have to go and pick garments up from, you’ll thank yourself. Also the first couple of times diving into the depths of Dalston for design studios, it’s got your back. I promise.

A portable charger

If you’re using your phone so much you’ve gotta know how to get back too (and have music for the journey home!)

All of the black clothes

If you’re assisting at an event and they don’t tell you the dress code, just assume. Or for general every day, go for clothes with pockets. It’s an odd one but handy to put your phone, oyster card, tickets in whilst juggling a million things. Also bring a backpack so there’s more room on your arms to carry bags, which leads me on to………….

Grow 10 arms

Ah you like carrying shopping bags? Here have 10! (This is a joke, kind of)

The comfiest of comfy shoes

Running up stairs and down Oxford Street you’re gonna have dooooooown my friend. Obviously you want to work in fashion, but in my opinion what you wear isn’t the end of the world. You’re there to work hard and be prepared to do whatever they ask you to do, so wear things that are comfy, don’t show up sweat marks (GROSS BUT BELIEVE ME GUYS) and lots of layers so you can always take some off/add just in case. Looking on trend and fashionable is the dream but at the end of the world I’m an intern, I have no money and I really cannot afford fancy clothes!

 

Water and skittles

When you have no money at least a bottle of water is free to refill and you won’t die of dehydration!!! Also sweets for when Thursday afternoon hits are handy. Breakfast bars work just as well. Also eating in Central London ain’t no Boots meal deal price – cook bulk pasta at home to bring in and save yourself from spending £7 a day on food!

A Brolly

And sunglasses. Use both at the same time if the occasion arrises. Nothing worse than getting back to the office feeling sweaty as anything and being caught in a complete downpour.

Mattifying Powder

A matte face completely gives the impression that everything is under control, honest. Also bring deodorant. I feel like I’ve given the impression in this blog post that I’m a really sweaty person…..which tbh I am but I’m just warning you!!

Happy interning!!!!!!!!! Fellow fashion interns!!!!!! And don’t forget to claim back your travel!!!


now playing: sugababes overload album. Or any kind of 00’s brit pop band, it’s your choice.

Working in the Creative Industry (OUR DOCUMENTARY)

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OUR TRALIER

This past term at uni we’ve been looking at film. Eurgh. Film. I’ve always been scared of it and the idea reality of having an idea in your head and it just not coming out the way you want it to. Every damn time. We could either do a fashion film/documentary or lots of short episodes based on anything to do with the creative industry and London – just as long as it was targeted at our age group.

We looked at how creatives work in London. Whether they have another job on the side, use their bedroom as their creative space and how they use London to influence their work. Our short episodes are called Overtime. Sometimes you’ve got to put the extra hours in – but when you absolutely love what you do, you can totally make it work.

Featuring my favourite blogger (and Notts gal) Charlotte, my friend Emily – a fashion photographer and Laila, the coolest musician (and blogger!) in the world. Also edited by my bestie Sam, shot by Jed and illustrations by my housemate Cat (who has an awesome new blog too!) – for the time ever the result looks exactly how it did in my head and I’m proper chuffed!!!

If you wanted to watch them each episode is only like a minute long, I’d love any feedback!

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EPISODE 1EPISODE 2EPISODE 3

 


now playing: SOUL SUNDAY SPOTIFY PLAYLIST, ABSOLUTE TCHUNES I TELL YA

Being a Student in London (survival guide 101)

Untitled-2I’m in my final term of my second year and I’ve lived in London now a year and a half……ish. I haven’t quite mastered separating my colours when I wash my clothes or making a decent meal, however I have worked out how to get food for free and how to save 50p on the tube. So I think it’s clear to see who the real winner is here. Kinda.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that you can live in London and completely make the most of it without having money. If I’m honest, I work as much as I can and save as much of it as possible which has helped…but I also live by the minimum but comfortably. If that makes sense? I know that I have one more year living comfortably in London where I can work, have my loan, not pay tax and I really want to make the most of it. Let me know if you’ve got an tips/apps I should download and I’ll add them to the list too!

  1. Download the app Drinki. It gives you a free drink everyday. Also use the code EXH
  2. Also download Happiour for really good discounts on really good food
  3. Stock up on breakfast bars, hula hoops and bananas and if worst comes to worst you can live on those for a couple of days
  4. Catch the tube after 9:30. Stand outside the barrier until then. Save ya pennies. Believe me
  5. When the Old El Paso One Pan Rice Meal is on offer, BULK BUY
  6. If you’re going to an event, find it on Facebook and see if there’s a guest list you can get on
  7. Don’t catch the tube everywhere
  8. Download YPlan for (usually really cheap!) things to do in London
  9. If you want your hair cut for free, make good friends with a trainee
  10. Don’t go out out in Central London on a Friday
  11. Uberpool, if you have to
  12. If you can, see if you can live in a ‘normal’ area of London by normal supermarkets like Morrisons instead of fancy gourmet bread shops – you know
  13. Most museums in London are free!
  14. I live in Zone 3, but I can walk to Zone 2 for travel. It makes a difference
  15. Work somewhere you can walk to and take food with you!!!!!
  16. …then take on as many shifts as you can (It’s a sweet feeling knowing you’re earning money instead of spending)
  17. Make the most of all the free things in London!!!!!!! Markets (free testers), parks, the Sky Garden…
  18. If you want to see a musical, book the cheapest tickets on a weird day like a Tuesday afternoon direct from the musical website and you’ll probably get upgraded
  19. Find launch parties where there’s free food, drink and good music
  20. Look on Twitter for free gig tickets when artists launch new albums
  21. Rough Trade!
  22. iTunes festival in September (free gigs every night? errrr yes)
  23. Find opening nights for restaurants for cheaper food!

PLZ NOTE: There is ALWAYS money available if the ice cream man stops outside the house tho

Uni is intense but really good fun at the moment. I like it. Lots of work. Forgotten what day of the week it is.


now playing: get to heaven everything everything/david laura marling/wildest moments jessie ware/feeling alright warpaint/stage or screen unknown mortal orchestra

FASHION & INTERNING

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So this is a really really long time coming. I never get requests on what to post on here (no one’s that interested) but the one recurring theme is people asking me about internships. I’m an intern obsessive and I completely admit that. I’m lucky that I have a student loan to pay for me to be in London for 3 years and I am so bloody determined to make the most of it. I really want to be able to afford to stay in London when I graduate and I know this is the only way. Also I’m scarred by retail (don’t get me wrong I love my job and it’s perfect at the moment but I know it’s not for me in the long term).

So I study Fashion Promotion and I absolutely love my course. I’ve learnt a real broad range of things within media and fashion thatI’ve then come across whilst interning, so it must be good!  I’m not really sure what direction I want to take after uni so I’m trying to experience as many aspects as possible. I think when you actively do it in a realistic environment that’s when you really get to narrow down what it is you like and don’t like. I’ve learnt that if you want to be a stylist, realistically a lot of time is spent dragging a suitcase around and that with social media and content creating so much time is invested in analytics…something I definitely enjoy more. I only know that because of interning (and btw I’ve only made like 3 coffee’s in my interning life – it’s all a lie (I think, so far)).

First thing’s first: If you say you don’t have time to intern, if you really want to do something you’ll make time for it. If you have to work part-time at the weekend too in order to buy food then do it, it’ll be so worth it.

Why they’re reaaaaaally important

  • It’s sad but my £9k fashion degree is worth nothing without experience
  • To find out what you really enjoy and love
  • To trulllly experience fashun darling
  • Meet lots of people within the industry
  • If you don’t intern, someone else will
  • To get a damn job
  • Master the art of email culture, of course
  • Learn how amazing clothes steamers are and how much you need one in your life

What kind of internships?

Literally everything. I’m still finding out jobs that I never thought existed and when you find out it’s like ‘ah yeah, that completely makes sense’. I’m a complete stalker anyway, but one thing I’ve found that helps is finding someone you really admire and I think ‘I want to do what you do’ and then finding out how they got there. It may be from an editorial from your favourite magazine, a piece of writing you really enjoyed, your favourite LFW show, a brand’s social media account you really enjoy – find out who creates it, which creative agency they work for,  the job role etc…. Next thing, log out of Linkedin (you don’t want to look like a stalker) and then find out where they worked, interned and the roles they did to get to where they want to be. I’ve found this so so helpful.

I also think it’s really important to not be stuck in one direction. If you’re 110% sure you want to work in PR then obviously that’s amazing but don’t feel like you have to be stuck doing that. Work for lots of different sized companies of different market levels and try doing as many different things as possible, it all crosses over and you’ll get to meet so many different people!

Where to find them?

Twitter = amaze. Fashion Workie (the best), Intern Wardrobe, UK Fashion Intern, London Internships … follow. them. all. Fashion Monitor (I can access it through uni) is amazing and basically contains the contact details of everyone in the industry so really good to send across a speculative letter. Even if they’re not looking at that moment, there’s no harm in asking. I’m really bad in that I send really really ramble-y cover letters and I wish I was more to the point but to talk about what you do, your interests and when you’re available are probably the best parts to address! I suppose you already do – but make sure you’re following all your favourite brands on social media (especially if they’re local to you too), really handy when they post about wanting interns.

The best time to do an internship?

Whenever! Obviously holidays are perfect…especially for longer length placements and if you’re not London based it’s easier to find friends/family to stop with. Part-time internships are great (mostly done with smaller/independent brands) as you can fit it around uni work, I’ve found they’re great because you really get to do a variety of jobs. 1 day/a couple of days are really useful too. Especially if you follow lots of small magazines on Twitter/Insta, they occasionally look for people to assist for the day especially with loans and returns. I assisted a stylist on a shoot in the summer and although I know I never have any intention of becoming a stylist, the things I learnt were really useful and nice to know. I know Conde Nast and many magazines (I think Hearst?) take on interns for only 2 weeks at a time so that’s really nice to dip into magazine experience. I suppose it goes without saying but brands/production companies are always looking for runners during LFW too. Mental and long days, but so worth it to have a proper insight. Fashion Scout and of course the BFC are awesome to contact.

Other things…

Don’t look for a paid internship. Well obviously do and if you do get one then UIFHEIUHDEIWUDIUEWHDFEIUW THAT’S AMAZING. But travel expenses, cool – food expenses too? Bloody amazing. I expect nothing but just remember that you are working as an intern – like you’re there to learn too. Yes you’re there to help and work, but it’s got to work both ways. Make the most of it – ask all of the questions, experience as much as possible, do all the tasks that aren’t fancy and work hard. Although, don’t put up with being exploited and treated like shit and if you really really hate it (I did one last year and I never cried so much) there’s no point carrying it on, there’ll be another one out there for you that you’ll end up loving.

THANK YOU, SORRY FOR ALL DOING YOUR HEADS IN. OVER AND OUT.

And if you do have any questions at all, honestly feel free to ask anything at all because I know what it’s like starting out and it’s all a bit overwhelming and crazy.

(I’m also one day going to address the negatives and my personal opinions on interning within the fashion industry, but I think that’ll have to wait for when I’m comfortably in a job and no longer have to rely on internships…………….until then I just roll along)