Friday, 17 February 2017

Facing knock backs and coming back fighting (Plus new job & journo award nominee!).

I'm sat here in a daze. I'm sat in the fluffiest dressing gown known to man, with my wet hair wrapped in a towel on my head and the biggest grin possible stretching across my face. Because I've done it. 

After four years of studying, countless internships, staying in pokey hotels whilst working for free to enhance my work prospects, and worrying about whether it would all be worth it, I've done it. I've been offered a full-time job with BBC Wales, and I've been nominated for the magazine media industry's New Talent Awards as most promising post-graduate student. IN THE SAME DAY. To say it's been a whirlwind of a day would be a complete understatement. 
I left London in January feeling slightly defeated. I'd worked really hard throughout my internships and freelance work, and had been tirelessly applying for jobs in the evenings in the hope that I'd find something permanent so that I could really make my mark on the industry. I did, and still do, feel like I have so much to give, and it sucked that I wasn't even being given a chance. 

Spending hours and hours on job applications to not even receive a confirmation email, or a quick message of thanks can be seriously disheartening. Like, how long does it take to type "thanks, I've got your application"? I know that's just the nature of the industry, and people must be inundated with e-mails almost every minute, but I was really starting to feel quite low as I had no plan of action for the future. What's more, I'd got to the final two out of 487 for an assistant role and was beaten to the post by someone who had more experience. After completing two journalism degrees, running a blog for four years, and working in the industry throughout my studies, to be told I didn't have enough experience was pretty disheartening. 

But then things started to fall into place. 

My family is the biggest believer in that age-old saying "everything happens for a reason". And it kind of did. I worked freelance with BBC Wales back in January, and a week later a position for a full-time runner opened. I've been really lucky to work in Welsh media and television production for the past few years, and one thing I can say is that everyone you work with is so incredibly encouraging. They're willing you to do well, and will do anything possible to help you. I also bloody love working television production. It's so fast-paced and fun, and you get to do and experience so much, so I was seriously eager to land an entry level role within the industry.

I went and applied, and the next week I was whisked away to Edinburgh for a fantastic few days with Dan, thinking of nothing but how beautiful the city was, and I returned home feeling incredibly relaxed and with a whole new perspective. Things do happen for a reason, and this little break meant I had time to finally spend with my boyfriend and just really having a laugh and enjoying myself. I could now return home feeling completely refreshed, and felt ready and determined to start the job hunt again after so many knock backs.

Just as we were about to hop on the plane home, I received an email asking me to attend an interview at BBC Wales. After a week of revising, researching and preparing I completed the interview last Thursday and was offered the job this afternoon, and words can't describe how happy I am. It means I'll be able to move back to Cardiff, to live close to my family and to be surrounded by friends. I'll be doing a job that I really love, and can move into a comfortable little home that I can happily afford, instead of having to worry about finding accommodation in London and living with people who I don't know. I can work hard, develop my skills and knowledge, and will never have to stay in a hostel whilst working for free again (I hope!).

I loved London, and I had the best time there. It's the most incredible city, filled with fantastic people, beautiful buildings and amazing opportunities around every corner. I learned so much about myself, about what I'm willing to do in order to achieve my goals and dreams. I learned that I am strong, independent, confident. I even learned to love the hectic tube journeys, the throngs of people strolling aimlessly down Oxford Street, the deafening sirens of police cars and bus horns as they hurtled along the roads. But was it home? Was it somewhere I truly felt happy and completely content? Was it somewhere I could see myself living in the long term? In all honesty, no. 

Now I can start the next chapter feeling completely excited for the future, and to top it off I've even been recognised by industry experts and will be whizzing back to the beautiful city of LDN for a night of shenanigans and unlimited drinks at the PPA New Talent Awards in March. Two of my lovely journalism friends, one whom I was at university with and another who was the loveliest Superdrug work buddy, have also been nominated, and I'm already excited for the antics that will unfold on the night. 

I'm literally sat in the happiest little bubble, and I'm so incredibly grateful for the lovely comments and well wishes I've received. I can finally say goodbye to the life of an intern, and am so so excited for the next chapter. After facing so many knock backs, struggling to find my feet, and honestly considering packing it all in, I can finally say that all the hard work has been worth it, and I'm bloody ecstatic!

Lots of love. xoxo

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The importance of enjoying a little self-love this Valentine's Day.

Whether you're single, in a relationship, newly engaged or happily married, I can't express how important it is to indulge in a little self-love this Valentine's Day, and at any time of the year in fact. Us "millennials" are always so busy. Working hard all week, taking on extra tasks in order to boost our career prospects, working out, spending time with friends on the weekend and constantly engrossed in social media. Sometimes you need to switch off, zone out and completely take time to think about yourself
The ways in which I do this are simple. I take time out by going for long walks in the countryside, with nothing but the pitter patter of my dogs' feet and the squawking of a red kite overhead to accompany my thoughts. I enjoy going to the gym, music blasting through my headphones, pushing myself to the limit and ridding my mind of the stress of the working day. I love having a piping hot shower and taking the time to indulge in a little pamper session, giving myself a fresh pedi and applying a thick layer of sweet smelling body butter onto my freshly-washed skin. I also love sitting in bed with my candles burning, listening to the wind howling and the rain beating against the window panes as I'm all snuggled up. 

The time in which I make to do these things is often few and far between. While I always make time to work out, I usually find that I head straight home from the gym to have a quick shower and sit with my computer, working on job applications and blog posts late into the night, until I'm so tired that my eyes are watering and I can barely drag myself to bed. Or I'm sat at my computer desk all day, working through my lunch break, and am left feeling grouchy when all it would take would be a quick stroll in the sunshine to lift my mood. 

I'm determined that 2017 will be the year of change for me, and I'm taking any chance to indulge in a little self-love and to take really good care of myself. After pushing myself to absolute extremes last year, whilst studying for my Masters and interning and living away in London, I was left feeling deflated. Incredibly proud that I'd achieved so much in twelve short months and had learned so much about myself and the world in the process, of course; but also completely exhausted, very tired and in dire need of some time out. 

I'm sure many of you feel the exact same way too, so let's make a pledge to take an hour or so each day to do something for ourselves. This could be something as simple as a kicking ass in a workout class, or popping to Tesco to pick up some gorgeous new blooms to brighten up your workspace. It could be cooking a deliciously wholesome meal to enjoy with your partner, or sitting on the couch with a book and  fluffy blanket, getting completely lost in the story. 

No matter how big or small, take a little time out to do something for you this Valentine's Day. 

Lots of love. xoxo

Friday, 10 February 2017

Lifestyle | 5 cute date ideas for Valentine's Day (or any day of the year!).

This year will be mine and Dan's fifth Valentine's Day together, but if I'm honest we don't really have much planned. We make a huge fuss for birthdays and Christmas, but when it comes to Valentine's Day we usually go out on a road trip and eat at whatever pub we find along the way (though I do insist he buys me some pretty flowers). A date night for us centres around the little things, having time to spend together doing fun things that make us happy. So in today's post I'm going to share some of our favourite date night ideas, as a way of inspiring couples and "galentines" both on V-Day and beyond. 

1. A walk along the beach at sunset

This is our ultimate favourite thing to do, and it was one of things I missed most about home while working in London. Growing up so close to some of Wales' most beautiful beaches is a huge blessing, so Dan and I always make the most of it and head to the coast at any opportunity. It's a time to have a real good chat and to spend together away from all the stresses of daily life and our phones (though we always take loads of snaps for Insta!). We usually take my dogs too, which adds to the fun as most of the time they end up falling in puddles, or wandering off on the hunt for food and we're running after them trying to get them back under control.

2. Pub grub

Who needs a fancy slap-up meal when you can have a huge plate of pub food and a delicious bowl of chocolate fudge cake and custard for dessert? We always choose a hearty pub meal over a posh restaurant - it's far more us I guess you could say - and usually head for food after a walk on the beach to warm us up after the cool sea air. 

3. Mini bake off

Yaaay, one of our favourite things to do. Who doesn't love baking cakes? And eating them after, of course. Whether it's chocolate rice crispy cakes, a delicious Victoria Sponge, or some healthy protein pancakes, get into the kitchen this Valentine's Day and whip up some sweet treats. You can even bake your own at home and have a fantastic feast of food to enjoy.

4. Movie or Netflix marathon

This usually results in me falling asleep by the second episode, and Dan getting pissed off because he's come to see me and I'm fast asleep, but the intention is there. The one type of programme that does keep me awake is a good old nature documentary. Anything featuring the voice of the legendary David Attenborough and beautiful pictures of monkeys leaping through leafy rainforest canopies is a must-watch.

5. Go for a bike ride

Dan and I really enjoy working out together, and in the summer we usually go running along the coast or in our local woodland park (yep, such a fun couple haha!), but bike rides are equally as fun and a great way to keep fit whilst spending time with your loved ones. This may not necessarily be a Valentine's Day date night idea, but definitely one to do on the weekend if the weather is bright and sunny, and you can take a yummy picnic too. I'm hoping to get my hands on a road bike this summer so that we can go on little cycling adventures together, though I feel that Dan may be leaving me in the dust as he used to cycle a good ten miles a day whilst he was working and playing rugby in New Zealand!

What are your favourite date night ideas?
Lots of love. xoxo

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

OOTD | Why an LBD is my go-to outfit choice for a girls' night out.

Finding an outfit for a girls' night out can be a nightmare. Is the dress code smart-casual or full-on glam? Should I try and resurrect an old outfit that hasn't been seen on Insta for a good few months, or am I feeling splurgy and wanting to purchase something new? Are we thinking dresses or jeans? Heeled boots or super high stilettos? For me, the answer is simple. You can always rely on an LBD. 

LBDs are functional, they're super easy to wear. They can be styled with a range of accessories and come in all shapes, sizes and designs. They're also always on trend, so pulling one out of the wardrobe that hasn't been worn for a good two years is like finding a dress fresh of the catwalk. I just love the simplicity of an LBD, and IMO you can never have enough. 
 This dress is from Oh My Love London, available at Topshop, and is an absolute dream. A little twist to the usual LBD, with its lace overlay and high neckline, it was the dress of choice for my birthday night out with the girls last weekend. I just love how glamorous it is, and teamed with some nude heels and clutch, I was ready to hit the dance floor. 

What's more it has a really gorgeous back detail, or lack thereof I should probably say. I've never really taken the plunge with a backless dress before, but I felt that the higher neckline and full-covered front of the dress meant I could flash a little flesh without feeling too exposed. I really love how this added a little extra to the piece, even if I did nearly freeze to death as it was so cold and stormy! (The things we do for a fab night out, eh girls?)
So next time you're scouring online retailers for a new party outfit, why not play it safe and opt for a little black dress? A timeless, classic piece - you'll always be hitting outfit goals when wearing one. 

Lots of love. xoxo