Saturday, 13 September 2014

One Day. London working life starts here

That's it, the search is over - I'm officially employed!

I was a very happy girl this week when I got a phone call offering me an amazing job at a London High Street retailer, working in content and copywriting. I must have looked a bit deranged that day because I spent the rest of the afternoon walking around London with this maniacal grin on my face. After all, it's been a bit of a stressful seven weeks leading up to this point but now I can finally stop worrying and embrace this new life [and plan a few cheeky weekend trips!].

I've had all kinds of experiences since arriving here but applying for jobs and being unemployed in a new city isn't a great feeling. Maybe the first week is ok because you spend it being a tourist but after that it's quite daunting. Funds start running low, any friends you have are busy with work and the days can get a little lonely.

One good thing about applying for jobs and interviewing is the amount of places I've gotten to see - honestly if you want to get to know a city just apply for jobs; I've been north, south, east and west, country, city, high street and ghetto, visited tube stations I wouldn't otherwise have been to and walked a mile [or ten] in my interview shoes.

One thing I will say about the work industry here is that whilst it is very much dominated by recruitment agencies, I don't think I'd recommend them. Those people are exhausting.... and very very nosy! They want to know if you're seeing anyone else (recruitment agents not boyfriends) to which I answer no but the truth is yes - I think recruitment agent infidelity is rife in this city. They ask what have you been doing, where do you want to go, how much do you want to earn, what are your skills, what are your bad points... Honestly it's like a bad therapy session. I signed up with quite a few agents around town but all the interviews and job success I had came from ones I found myself. So my advice is just to stick with those companies who work directly with their candidates - chances are they are a better employer anyway!

Well that's it for now, I'm going to sit back, relax and enjoy my new found "employed" status by blowing all my funds on celebratory martinis. Cheers!

Photo via Pinterest.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Eat Me. Wahaca, Soho

Roaming around Soho the other week with a hungry tummy and a rather empty wallet I stumbled across this little Mexican gem - Wahaca. Part of a chain, there are Wahaca's dotted all around the city and they are great for a bite when you're after some tasty food that won't break the bank.

We arrived around 8pm and were asked to wait in the bar downstairs for a table. Even if you don't intend to eat, it's a great little space for a drink with friends. Wahaca's bar has a very impressive drinks list that features a whole lot of tequilas and even more versions of margaritas [the one with pineapple in it is amazing!]. We weren't waiting long before we were seated at our table. The restaurant has a colourful industrial feel with lots of wood, corrugated iron and splashes of bright paint.

The menu is simple but full of tasty-sounding tapas and larger meals, and the specials for the day come on a post-it note! I opted for the chicken burrito which was delicious but be warned, most things here are spicy even if it doesn't say they are! So ask for mild if you're not sure to be on the safe side. My friends ordered the tasting selection of a few dishes which looked like a great way to get a sample of the menu.

If you're looking for a cool, casual bite with a selection of great cocktails, this is a great place for a weekend or weeknight. 4/5

Where: 80 Wardour Street, London W1F 0TF
Bookings: Suggested
Phone: 020 7734 0195

Photos by Krissie.

Wahaca on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Style It. Shoes: an enduring love affair

First there was Cinderella, then there was Carrie Bradshaw... Ask any girl what her number one weakness is and I guarantee the most common answer will be shoes [closely followed by chocolate]. I, for one, am a self-confessed lover; in my opinion shoes make or break an outfit. I don't care if you're wearing a couture dress, if you've got cheap shoes on it might as well be an outfit from Target.

I never inherited an artistic gene in terms of artwork, but even shoes bring out the best in me - I can't believe I managed to paint these water-colours. I hope you're impressed. There's just something about them, those shoes. The straps, the heel, the shape; they really have an allure that I don't think any other fashion item has. Deep down we all want a collection like Carrie - one that's stacked five boxes high and when you run out of wardrobe space you store them in the oven.

Us girls often ridicule each other when it comes to our spending and budgeting prowess but one thing we all understand is splurging on shoes. "Can't afford your rent this month but you bought a $800 pair of Jimmy Choo's - of course you did honey, I totally understand."

History confirms our love affair is real; during the recent global financial crisis, sales of most things plummeted but can you guess what was the one sector that grew? That's right, shoes. Not to mention the physical effect a great pair of shoes can have; high heels make us girls stand in a way that elongates our legs, lifts our bottoms and arches our backs. Even modern medicine agrees; researchers say that the area of the brain that controls our lust and sex drive is right next to the region that deals with the feet.

And we thought it was just our lust for gorgeous accessories talking...

Photos by Krissie.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Suitcase. Brighton, UK - Travel Guide

For the last day of summer it seemed only right to spend it somewhere by the water... and since I didn't have the luxury of jetting off to Spain or Greece I figured I'd head to England's version of a beachside resort town - Brighton.

I had heard mixed reports about this little seaside town [not so little, it's home to over 200,000] but I'm thrilled to say I really loved it here. For me it was a perfect cross between Sydney's Manly and Melbourne's St Kilda; I'm talking quaint little streets and alleyways, endless cafes and restaurants, an angry ocean far too cold for swimming and a seaside theme park a la Luna Park - complete with an impressive Ferris Wheel mind you!

Start off by checking out the many alleys and laneways in town. They are bursting with designer and nick-nack stores, cafes, restaurants and some incredible sweet shops! From here you can take a walk to Brighton Dome which is a very impressive building that houses the town's theatre and art productions. It backs onto a beautiful park which is well worth a wander and there are plenty of squirrels for spotting if that makes you as excited as me! For a bit of a cultural experience you can wander up St James Street; this is the central gay area in Brighton and there are some great flamboyant stores and characters for spotting! Head south from here and you'll hit the water right at the impressive Ferris Wheel and along to your right is the famous Brighton Pier. And if you feel like a spot of shopping, Churchill Shopping Centre isn't too far away which houses a good range of stores.

Reaching Brighton is an easy one hour train ride from London; departing from Victoria or Blackfriars stations. And once you arrive there's really no need for anything but your legs. Walking around town is great and there's so much to explore on foot. But if need be, you can grab one of the several local buses that go all around town.

You won't be short of choice in Brighton and I think wandering the streets to make your selection is the way to go. The little alleys and lanes host the majority of restaurants and I saw some great looking burger joints and Italian restaurants. If you want a truly beachy experience then you can always opt for fish and chips on the beach!

Whilst I will say that Brighton's beaches certainly can't rival those of Australia, I really enjoyed this little seaside town. It's history combined with an intricate city layout and the endless call of seagulls makes for a lovely experience. Definitely a place to visit when the sun is shining.

Photos by Krissie.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Eat Me. Bodo Schloss, Kensington

Want to know where the royals hang out, well Prince Harry in particular? The whisper is you'll find them at Bodo Schloss, an Austrian pub/bar/nightclub just around the corner from Kensington Palace - makes sense! I got to visit this funky little place on Kensington High Street last week for the post-Notting Hill Carnival celebrations.

Bodo Schloss has a really great vibe and I had such an enjoyable night. Inside is very themed - you'll honestly think you're in the tyrolean alps; there is wood everywhere, vintage ski sets, cow bells and deers' heads on the walls. The bartenders even wear cute little green checkered shirts and most of them have Austrian accents - it's adorable.

I had a lovely chat to the guys behind the bar as I worked my way through the cocktail list here - honestly everything is good. I asked the guys how often they see Harry and whilst they weren't allowed to confirm he actually ever came there, they pretty much guaranteed it with non-verbal gestures.

Bodo Schloss starts every evening as a restaurant before gradually transforming into a full blown night club. Rounds of ten shots are served on vintage skis and the cow bell is rung each time to celebrate - it's definitely a buzzing atmosphere.

The night I was there the DJ was accompanied by a saxophonist which made for the coolest music I've heard in a while. If you're looking for a fun night in some internationally themed surrounds then this is definitely a hotspot for you. 5/5

Where: 2A Kensington High Street, London W8 4PT
Bookings: Essential for dinner
Phone: 020 7937 5506

Photos by Bodo Schloos & Krissie.

Bodo's Schloss on Urbanspoon

Monday, 25 August 2014

One Day. #bbloggers Summer Picnic

If anyone had been wandering through Hyde Park Corner Saturday morning they would have seen a gaggle of girls chatting, laughing and oohing and aahing over some delightful goodybags. The bloggers get together, organised by the lovely Candy Floss Cloud, was the perfect opportunity for me to meet some fellow bloggers on this side of the world. We chatted fashion, style, favourite stores and beauty products and then the usual topics that girls always shift to - boys, movies and plans for Saturday night! As the token Aussie in the group I was a fairly popular addition with stories of beaches, warm sunshine and kangaroos.

Rachel had gathered us all together to talk about the wonderful world of blogging and we all shared some helpful tips about our own experiences - it is like a full-time job after all! And as a bonus we got some wonderful goodybags with the latest beauty products. I was in heaven.

There were some goodies from Yves Rocher, Scent City, Face the Future, Time Bomb and Cocoa Brown. I am now feeling bronzed and moisturised with great nails, luscious lips and smelling great. I really enjoyed trying all the products, especially since most of them were brands I hadn't encountered before. My beauty cabinet is complete!

Photos by Krissie.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Eat Me. Purl Marylebone, London

If you are one to love the 1920s era then have I got the place for you. Tucked away underground in Marylebone is Purl; a sassy cocktail bar that will transport you back to the days of the traditional 'speakeasy'. This place is truly the whole package with vintage decor and furnishing, a soundtrack straight out of a WWI bar, waiters dressed in century-old fashions and a cocktail list that promises a selection of drinks you've definitely never tried before.

One of the things I loved about this place is the fact that they serve their champagne in those old-fashioned champagne saucers, I felt like I was on the Titanic. The cocktail list is for the adventurous and most drinks come with a weird and wacky accompanient like an icy pole, a toffee cup or a bursting balloon that releases an essence. It's all designed to compliment flavours and the showmanship element is quite the sight to behold.

Definitely a place to visit if you're in London, I guarantee you won't come across anywhere else that has this amount of charm.

Where: 50-54 Blandford Street, London W1U 7HX
Bookings: Suggested
Phone: 020 7935 0835

Photos by Krissie and Purl.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Suitcase. Moving to London from Australia

Now I'm not the kind of person to make any decision lightly; it doesn't matter if it's travel plans, cooking, eating out or buying clothes - you can always trust that I'm the person who has done the most research. [My friends know that if we go out for dinner, chances are I've already looked at the menu online and chosen what I'm having.] Not embarassingly dorky at all, I like to call it being prepared because no one likes a nasty surprise.

When I decided to move to London, which was rather a spur of the moment decision mind you [very unlike me!], the first thing I did was hit up Google. Search words: living in London, moving to London, Australians in the UK, dressing for freezing weather, white Christmas, city rentals, weekend breaks from London... you get the idea. But no matter how much research I did there were a few things that caught me out when I got here, aside from the language barriers. Here are all the things I wish I'd known...

  • If the weather heats up, don't panic and go out and buy an entire summer wardrobe, chances are it will be cold again within a week and the clothes will sit unworn in your drawer. Note to self: there is no summer in London.
  • Where you live in London says everything about you so choose your area wisely. For example, if you live in Shoreditch you are an alternate, red-trouser-wearing artist; Chelsea/Belgravia/Kensington you come from an established line of wealth; Clapham you are 99% certainly Australian; Fulham you are a Chelsea-wannabe whose wallet doesn't extend that far; and if you're in Camden there's a high chance you work in media.
  • Expect to be broke, all the time. No matter how much you earn, your rent, bills, food, clothes and daily-required-cocktail-intake will always outweigh your paycheck. Sad face.
  • Never, never, never leave home without an umbrella. I don't care if the forecast tells you it's fine and there is not a cloud in sight. Chances are you'll go into a store/work/cafe/tube and you'll come out to the world ending with torrential rain. Don't. Risk. It.
  • If you do temp work (yay for finding a job) you'll need what's called an umbrella company. Don't panic it's not as complicated as it seems just Google a few and make your choice; they are all much of a muchness.
  • If someone is talking about a 'Chav' they are referring to what I call a bogan - so keep your distance.
  • Recruitment agencies are the way to go. Honestly, 95% of jobs here are through an agent. Send your resume and go for an interview and if impressed they'll put you forward for positions. Just call them your guardian job fairies.
  • Doing a weekly food shop is pretty much an impossibility; unless of course you are hercules with endless strength. I'm lucky that my walk from the supermarket is about 600m but even that is too far. I've made the mistake twice. I won't make it again. Small shopping trips from now on.

Hope you've soaked up all my wisdom.

Photo by Krissie.