Zoom – The Fatigue is Real

What was previously just another onomatopoeic “ding dong” is now going to be one of the most used words of 2020. The word zoom, will forever take on a meaning of endless work meetings and the location for all social interaction for the large part of the last three months. We’ve celebrated birthday’s on zoom, praised achievements, had hard discussions and now honestly, I’m zoomed out.

Ironically, the word “zoom” usually indicates that you are moving quickly, flying through life, but my god are we trudging right now. Since moving to London time has flown, I’ve posted once since September! Days and nights instead filled with commuting, drinks in the pub, exploring new areas and for the large part, flopping exhaustedly on my bed after a day in the office. But now, we shut our laptops after a day of working from home, only to open them an hour later to join our friends and family for another edition of the weekly lockdown quiz.

But there is no shame in wanting to turn off the laptop, put it in a cupboard and never turn it back on. That would be admittedly a little dramatic, but honestly, I feel you. We are not programmed to live our lives through a screen, social interaction is a fundamental part of our nature and sometimes we all just need a physical hug.

I’ve found that since I’m spending the entirety of my social time on a laptop, whether that be for work or for catching up with friends, I’m sure as hell not wanting to spend my “me time” on it too. Whereas I once could have spent hours reading blogs, watching youtube videos and *ahem* playing the sims, now I find myself craving activities that don’t require staring at a screen. I’ve found I actually love colouring – turn’s out my creativity was playing with the colours in a picture someone else has drawn for me rather than drawing them myself, something my art teacher was more than definitely aware of at school…

I also have finished my first leisure book in a long time. Sophie Kinsella speaks to me on another level and I resonated hard with Samantha from The Undomestic Goddess. I’ve been delving into Caroline Hiron’s Skincare and have been learning to tell my AHA’s from my BHA’s in an attempt to justify a whole new skincare routine that’s Caroline approved.

So if you’re feeling a little ‘zoomed out’ then do yourself a good deed and step away from the screen. Social media is included in this – if you are digitally fatigued then the last thing you need is to see how others are living it up in lockdown!

Pick up a book. Go for a socially distanced walk. Paint your nails. Draw a picture. Fake tan. Try on every item of clothing in your wardrobe. Take a bath. Ultimately, make some time for yourself offline.

Yes, this is temporary, but whilst this is the way things are, make sure you adjust the other aspects of your life to account for this change. Will I ever pick colouring in a picture over meeting my friends for cocktails and brunch in the future? No, probably not. But for now it’s ok to say no to a zoom call and do an offline activity that’s just for you.

Brb, off to sharpen my pencils.

Dear Diary… Getting Back Up Again

Ahh rejection. What a glorious feeling.

If you’ve been following my blog or have read any of my recent posts then you’ll know that I’ve been in London recently for two interviews for what was essentially a dream job. It involved blogging, events, digital marketing and communications and I really thought my interviews had gone well.

In fact, they did go well! I came second, losing out to a candidate that had three years of experience in those fields. As a graduate there is potentially nothing more soul destroying than losing to someone with experience. I understand experience gives the company that sense of reassurance but when you’re on the other side of a rejection simply due to your age it can be pretty crushing. I have never let a lack of experience daunt me, because let’s face it. 90% of people probably had no idea what they were doing when they first start a job, no matter how much previous experience they have had. Every job will require slightly different skills, use different platforms and have a totally different working environment. So even 50 years of experience wouldn’t necessarily prepare you for that first day.

Now I don’t want to come across as bitter, because I am most definitely not! It’s still a dream company to work for and I’m going to keep pursuing jobs with them, so take this more as a lamentation for how frustrating it can be as a graduate fighting for that first big break. If you read my post on hunting for a job in London you’ll know just how overwhelming it can be, with so many opportunities simultaneously feeling like nothing being available.

However, in this moment of defeat (albeit a small moment of defeat) I am more determined than ever to grab a break and get the London city life I’ve been dreaming of. Whilst it throws our plans of moving into a flat into complete disarray, I guess I will just be even more prepared when the time does come. As a true millennial, I live my life by a great series of inspirational quotes.

What’s for you won’t come past you.

If it’s meant to be, it will be.

As one door closes another one opens.

So here I am checking in, down but definitely not out! I guess if it was easy there would be no sense of achievement and that is my whole motivation for moving to London in the first place.

Barbican conservatory

Building a Work Wardrobe

Career goals and whatnot aside, one of the things I was most excited about moving to London and starting a full time job was getting that dream work wardrobe. Every rom com movie of my childhood featured women working for magazines or events companies, getting to strut around the city in Louboutin’s with a gorgeous dress and flawless makeup. What ambitious child would not want that!

But realistically it’s a lot harder in practise to curate that perfect selection, especially when trying to shop like a city girl on a non-existent budget. So if you’re in a similar situation or just fancy being nosy, I hope you enjoy my tips and walk-through of my wardrobe (wish that said walk-in wardrobe but a girl can dream…)

I think one of the first major dilemmas is how to navigate that smart casual minefield. I recently asked before an interview what the office dress code was as I didn’t want to appear completely overdressed and not fit in to the office vibe, or much worse, underdressed if they all were wearing suits. ‘The smarter side of smart casual’ was my reply, but that’s even more vague than when Robbie said ‘See you later’ to Georgia in the educational movie Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.

When I think of smart casual I try and keep to the following rules:

  • Nothing remotely see through
  • If a strong wind blows or I have to bend down will I be forever mortified
  • Never grey or any other sweat showing colour, because have you been on the central line?!?
  • Nothing tight enough that will show my post lunch food baby
  • No jeans

Dresses are what I believe are going to form the basis of my working wardrobe pretty much all year round. Knee length skater dresses or shift dresses in the Summer and knitted with tights in the winter. Dresses are easier to style for multiple occasions, especially in block colours which are undoubtedly the chameleons of the office wardrobe. I have three beautiful dresses that are forming the foundations of my collection and somehow they have all ended up being navy. By picking a neutral, block colour I can easily style it with different bags and accessories to disguise the fact I’ll be wearing the same three dresses on rotation for a while.

I’m also really enjoying Pinterest right now to collate ideas of how I want my wardrobe colour palette to be and it’s a great place to find inspiration for outfits! (You can check out my board here!) A pleated midi skirt is currently top of my work wish list, paired with a blouse or even a t-shirt, then a jumper in the winter months for a more casual environment. I think it is such a versatile piece that I would never considered could be workwear had I not seen it on Pinterest. This way, I also have an already curated collection of items to browse when that paycheque comes in and I want to expand my collection.

Whilst the branding of your clothes is completely irrelevant in the office, having pieces of quality is especially important as you’ll be wearing and washing them constantly. Having pieces that are easy to both wash and iron has been a careful consideration when planning my wardrobe as I definitely don’t want to be stuck on my days off spending hours handwashing my clothes, or worse, having to pay to get them dry cleaned. Checking out sites such as Brand Alley mean you can browse the high-end highstreet labels such as Reiss and Hobbs for a fraction of the price!

As for shoes and accessories? I think simplicity here is key. I have two pairs of chunky heeled sandals, one in black and one in cream and have already picked out my dream black work bag from Michael Kors. Black and either nude or cream will match any outfit and as long as they are comfortable, will see you through most of the year. When we get closer to winter I’ll be looking for a pair of good quality black heeled boots and a black coat as by keeping to black I know that it will match any outfit. This makes it so much easier to part with a larger sum of money for these items, knowing I’m getting good quality and will get so much wear out of them.

So I guess the message is one of basics. Basics are key, especially in the workplace! Whilst some may remind me that I’m going to work and not a fashion show, I think that even in an office setting you can tell a lot about a person from their outfit. By that I don’t mean the labels or price tag, but how they carry themselves and wear their clothes with pride. I have always thought I perform best when I am feeling put together and organised and my wardrobe has a big part to play in that.

PS. As you can probably tell, the photo with this post is not my own although I wish that was my wardrobe. On my previous blog the thought of using stock photos would horrify me, however right now I am sharing a tiny wardrobe with my boyfriend and there’s absolutely not a hope I’ll be taking a nice photo of that to share on the internet. I’d much rather put out a quality of writing I am happy with and want to share than spend hours agonising over how bad the camera is on my iPhone 6 which I’m using to replace my stolen phone so for now, a stock photo it is. Although don’t think I haven’t spent about an hour already trying to find the perfect one…

How I'm building my work wardrobe; pinnable graphic!