My Autumn Skincare Routine

A new season has arrived and with it, over-the-knee boots, questionable tassels and splashes of my favourite colour red! But whilst that’s the rundown of catwalk trends, this post is reserved for updating your bathroom cabinet and not your wardrobe. I’ve spoken before about my summer skincare routine but this season’s demands are a little different so, it’s time to regroup for the colder months. Just as you reach for your jumpers and coats, your skin’s needs change too. I say treat your skin like your Netflix account; with time, money and dedication.

Talking about the brand I like to think I know the best (I say this, readers, because I work there...*), ELEMIS has an amazing library of textures for all skin types and skin concerns. ELEMIS’ mission is to evolve with you and your skin’s needs whether that’s during the 365 days of the year or over the years themselves. Listening and responding to your unique needs curated by your own lifestyle choices; from city to country air, light to deep sleep and a fast or healthy diet, to name a few factors. Whilst what I need will vary from what my sister or mother needs, here are my top picks and adjustments I’ve made this Autumn that you may find makes the difference too.
Oil Cleanser. I’ve put away my micellar water from the summer when convenience and refreshment were top of the agenda and replaced it with an entirely different texture. With the nights drawing in, my evening skincare routine takes on a slower pace and becomes part of the day I really look forward to – a little me-time in amidst all the busyness. With 2-3 pumps of ELEMIS Nourishing Omega-Rich Cleansing Oil in the palm of my hands, I mix together and smooth onto dry skin. The texture makes for an easy glide and apply in circular motions around the cheeks, forehead, nose and jawline. It feels like a mini massage for your face – enjoy it! I find I can stand there in the mirror for ages and feel the tension loosening from my face, particularly around my cheeks and mouth. Don’t worry when it gets a bit messy; the oil is ideal for lifting off your day’s make-up so just grab a warm, damp washcloth and sweep away. The clue is in the title and ‘nourishing’ is exactly how your skin will feel after.
Exfoliate Away. No matter how well your make-up withstands the day (and that in itself is a challenge), there is nothing more satisfying than getting that squeaky-clean feeling at the end of the day. I remember the first time I started working in London and literally seeing the soot and dirt on my skin from travelling on the London Underground. New York is much the same, as is any city, so exfoliation is key. For me, it’s the step that feels truly satisfying and particularly so with ELEMIS Skin Buff’s small grains within a cream. Having started out with the uber-coarse St Ives Apricot Skin Scrub, as most girls my age I’m sure, don’t let the pain of rubbing that into your skin put you off. Forget ‘scrubbing’ and think ‘buffing’ as it requires minimal effort to lift away excess dirt, grime and dead skin cells. (If you want exfoliating action but without any grain, try ELEMIS Papaya Enzyme Peel which is an entirely smooth cream that you apply and carry on with the housework whilst enzymes nibble away at your dead skin cells – sounds kind of gross but the result is marvellous).
An Oil A Day. One big switch for me is from serum to facial oil. It’s time for a heavier texture to inject extra hydration into my skin whilst the freezing weather and central heating zaps it. And don’t fear at the mention of ‘oil’ – it’s actually the perfect thing for oily/combination skin like my own! Best way I find to apply ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Marine Oil is straight after I’ve cleansed and toned, whilst my hands are still warm. Apply 2-3 drops into the palms of your hands, rub together and pat into your skin. The heat from your hands onto your skin is D I V I N E and the oil rapidly sinks in. Once you’ve applied the product all over your face (don’t forget your neck!), lightly smooth over the surface of your skin to ensure even application. This is my favourite step in my skincare routine and that feeling when I apply it will keep me returning time and time again to this product, I’ll just throw in the other benefits such as moisturising, hydrating, nourishing, revitalising and renewing. 
Look Alert. We may have just benefited from an extra hour’s sleep as the clocks went back, but it’s something about the dark mornings that make getting up more and more difficult! My tell-tale sign is my eyes, more specifically the bags underneath them. Between early mornings and hours of screen-time, the fragile skin around my eyes definitely needs some love. As I near the end of my twenties, I can certainly see those early signs of fine lines too so the anti-ageing power in ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Advanced Eye Treatment is a godsend morning and night! Dab 1-2 drops onto your ring finger and dab around the eye socket until your eyes have drunk it all up. It’s a soothing feeling to apply this and I love knowing it’s counteracting all the weariness!
Energy kick. My favourite range of all is BIOTEC which targets dull, lacklustre skin and boosts skin’s energy levels. Think of it like Lucozade for your skin, just calorie-free! ELEMIS BIOTEC Skin Energising Day Cream is a dual-chamber moisturiser combining the power of zinc and copper (total skincare buzzwords FYI) to boost skin cell ATP (a fancy acronym for 'energy') – I know it sounds like a chemistry lesson but it’s pretty fascinating! Read more of the technical stuff here. Science aside, it’s a range I have used on and off several times over the year, a method I choose to adopt to kickstart my skincare at certain times; change of season, if I’ve been feeling run-down or to just recalibrate my skin after weeks or months of a particular routine. It’s not an overly heavy moisturiser which I like to reserve for the coldest, wintry months, but it certainly brightens my complexion.

I’d love to know what you have changed up with autumn or if you haven’t maybe this is the inspiration you need!

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. In fact, my boss has no idea I’ve spent my weekend picking up leaves from Central Park, writing until the early hours of Sunday morning and then taking photographs in my living room on Sunday afternoon. This is genuinely my skincare routine with products I genuinely love. And I do this blog malarkey for fun.


IT Cosmetics // A to B Review

IT Cosmetics has been one of the most coveted brands of 2017 along with classmates Glossier, Tatcha and recently launched Fenty Beauty. Gracing TV screens on QVC since 2010 and hitting the news last year with its $1.2 billion acquisition by L'Oreal, the brand has an impressive track record. However, you'll be forgiven if you don't know it for those reasons. If I mention 'Superhero Mascara', 'Confidence in a Cream' or 'Bye Bye Under Eye', these catchy names may ring a few bells. With an aggressive influencer campaign this year, it’s the brand that literally every YouTuber has been praising. I have both admired it from afar and being utterly drawn in. Read on for a full beauty review of the latest bestseller to join their Top 10.

Founded by Jamie Kern Lima after she followed a career in journalism, IT Cosmetics was born out of her motivation to create problem-solving products for flawless skin, a sufferer of rosacea herself. The brand's ethos is wrapped up perfectly in the name of the product under the spotlight in this post - "Your Skin But Better". Amen to that. I just have to look at my close girlfriends to see that whilst we all have very different skin types, we all have one thing in common and that's wanting make-up that brings out the best in our skin (and hides the worst!).
The Back Story
With a hint of my father about me, some* purchases are incredibly considered (*some are most definitely NOT. Like shoes.). IT Cosmetic’s Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+ was one of those more considered purchases. I was curious to test how fickle my darling vloggers would be about the product, keeping on an eye on how quickly they moved onto the next item in their blogger mail (I love to hate those videos!). After some serious staying power in their acrylic beauty boxes, I was psyching myself up to part with $40. Turns out, all it takes is three months of contemplation and a sprinkle of girly encouragement on a trip to Sephora to get my VIP Rouge status flexing. God, I love that loyalty scheme. And, as easy as contactless payment (although the Americans haven’t got there yet!), I was the new owner of a foundation - sorry, colour corrector. If it was good enough for The Anna Edit and Lily Pebbles to squeeze the tube to the very end, get that stuff on my face and colour-correct the hell out of me!
The Promise
This product claims to be ideal for people with oily/combination complexions *puts hand up* and so I have high hopes for a mattifying effect throughout the day. One colour match later and surprise surprise, I'm the palest on the spectrum. Refreshingly, the 'Light' shade is literally a perfect match for this English Rose so I have high hopes for superior blending capabilities.

The Application
Despite just finishing a bottle of Nars Sheer Glow Foundation and their advice being to apply with your fingertips to help warm up the product, I am deferring to my squishy Real Techniques beauty blender. (Side note: I didn’t realise for the first few weeks that you’re meant to dampen it. Rookie. Then once I realised, I couldn’t be bothered to walk to the bathroom every morning in my half-asleep state, so I discovered a cheeky hack of spritzing my Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray all over the surface of the sponge. All(!) that time saved). Couple of pumps of the CC Cream onto the sponge and dab onto forehand, cheeks, nose, forehead and chin*. (*As I suffer from hormonal breakouts and scarring, this is more of a full jawline application!)
First Impressions
It's fragranced! I wasn't expecting that. It's a pleasant citrus aroma... but it's fragranced! Not sure many other foundations or CC creams out there possess such a high perfume in my experience so it might not be for everyone, particularly those with sensitive skin. However, it evokes the feeling of it working well on the skin, soothing, healing what lies beneath! The application of the product is A M A Z I N G. Super easy to blend in and layer up for those more stubborn areas of concern. It feels very light on the skin, unlike most full coverage products, but certainly does conceal!
Ongoing Impressions
I’m not (normally) a demanding woman and when it comes to foundation - there are just two things I want:
  1. Cover (z)it up.
  2. Be day-proof.
When I leave in the morning, no matter what heat or air-con my poor skin is exposed to, no matter how stressed and crinkled my forehead will be after a day in the office, and no matter how big that sandwich is I attempt to shove down my pie hole, I don’t want to be retouching every five minutes! Life is too short! I need a base to have confidence in and keep my best face forward. Whilst that may be a product from utopia, this CC Cream is a strong runner-up. My skin can breath, it doesn't feel weighed down and I don't get those crease lines as the day wears on. A little light powder is required to get through the full 9-hour day but that's no better or worse than any other product I've used over the years. 

Would I recommend it to my best friend / sister / mother? 

Would I repurchase it?

I hope you enjoyed reading the second instalment from my A to B review series. Whilst I'm off scouring the shelves of Sephora for the next product to come under the spotlight, I'd love to hear what new products have wowed you this year!


Why I Love Autumn

What’s your favourite season? I suspect a lot of people answer 'Summer' for its warmer weather, light evenings and open invitation to barbecues and Pimms. I’m afraid, I just can’t jump up and down for Summer. Blame my pale-skinned disposition but between the fake tanning and sweat patches, it just doesn't make it an attractive time of year for this English Rose. The moment September struck, I was packing away the shorts and cami tops and banning it to the top shelf of the cupboard (literally out of my 5ft 3" reach). Unfortunately, New York had other ideas. Whilst I envisioned strolling wrapped up in cosy scarfs and kicking through leaves, the reality was 26 degrees and I was resentfully summoning Ryan to bring the "summer suitcase " back down from said cupboard. One broken pair of Haviannas later, I was delighted to be back in the UK to get a proper run-out for the Autumn wardrobe (hello coats!). Watch out for my new Autumn Wardrobe Wishlist coming soon.... For all the reasons I love Autumn, read on.

Roast Dinners
I started writing this after a cosy afternoon sat in one of our favourite pubs along the river in Hammersmith. In fact, Ryan and I realised we have made pretty much every big life decision sat in The Old Ship. Whether it be deciding to live together, get married or go travelling.. Now, here we are having done all three! We spent a special Sunday meeting up with my amazing school friends and their partners to catch up, meet the latest addition to the group (a puppy...babies = not yet!), drink wine and face-plant the biggest Yorkshire puddings you've ever seen! Autumnal food is literally the best - as the evenings draw in and the weather takes a chillier turn, it brings with it more kettle-boiling for cups of tea, early morning porridge and hearty soups. I've found I've switched salads for vegetables and lunchtime queues at Sweet Greens (oh my, there isn't a salad place quite like it in the UK) for DigInn when I get my fix of cauliflowers and pumpkin faro. (Side note, the Americans are obsessed with pumpkins. Literally every door, window and shop window are overflowing with pumpkins of all size! Pumpkin pie, anyone? I'm still yet to try! Plus, Brussel sprouts are a surprisingly common side order in NYC.)


Whilst cooking hasn't been my strong point since moving country (or ever), I feel myself getting in the mood for evenings spent testing out new recipes and have several pages of Madeleine Shaw's cookbook ‘A Year of Healthy Eating’ flagged for action.

Warmer Wardrobe
Ahead of an autumnal wedding in the 'shire last week, the wardrobe was under the spotlight. Flicking through my hangers I realised my wardrobe is severely in need of a refresh! Every day I wear an outfit that has been rotated for the entire five years I have been working at Elemis. This is dyer times, Ladies and Gentlemen. Having been on a tight budget of late, shopping hasn't been top of mind and so this trip back to the UK has called for several big hauls! Dusting off the coats stowed away, getting those dry-cleaning orders in and refamiliarising myself with my boot collection, it still calls for newness.

Colder climes in New York generally call for two types of footwear; wellington boots and snow boots. Not two purchases top of mind but the slightest bit of drizzle and the elevator is full of people in wellies! After experiencing Storm Stella in February, I know Ugg boots aren't up to the task (although their slippers are totally on my Christmas list!). Whilst Hunter boots are brand of choice for wet weather, I'm savouring the slightly milder months for more beautiful (read: slightly impractical) boot purchases. 
Ever since I was aged 7 and spray-painting fallen leaves in gold, silver and bronze (rose gold wasn't a thing in the 90's), I've been obsessed with the leaves changing colour. At Hyde Park in Upstate New York earlier this month it was polls apart from the weather in Manhattan and I literally ran into a cluster of trees and kicked through the leaves like a child! Boomerangs were captured.

Re-light my fire.
In a bid to make our apartment feel more cosy, the evening candle lighting ceremony begins. Having spent seven months looking at them, I am so excited to be dusting them off for an outing. Favourite candle of the moment is Diptique's Baies for a beautiful flora aroma and ELEMIS’ Joyful Glow for a more festive spice from notes of orange, vanilla and cinnamon.
Strictly Boxsets
I've written before about Autumn holding this dream-like vision of evenings under a blanket with a hot drink and either (i) a new book or (ii) Netflix series (Stranger Things is taking over my social life!). The reality is somewhat less preened but is still bloody good! I'm the first to praise British television and so there was no way an ocean was going to get in the way of me and Strictly Come Dancing! Every weekend, three hours are dedicated to iPlayer and not to mention my daily fix of Zoe Ball's It Takes Two. Seriously, it's an obsession. It started as a family show when I was a teenager, evolved into a pre-drinking ritual that, at times, sparked the X Factor vs Strictly row amongst my Uni roommates and has now become a solo activity whilst the husband catches up on football/boxing/any-sport-it-doesn't-matter-as-long-as-its-not-Strictly! The weeks fly by and mark the key countdown points between the start of the new school year and Christmas. (Halloween special last week was AMAZE-BALLS!) If you can't relate to Strictly (as I found out one of my closest friends cannot...), what is your TV tuning into this autumn? It's literally when all the best films get released (cue popcorn) and perfect time to start a new series (hello sofa).

Whilst I’m snuggling down for Autumn, rolling out the new season wardrobe (or, handful of new items to be exact!), and upping my tea-intake, what are you loving about this time of year?


How To Spend Three Days in Boston

My first escape from the Big Apple came in the form of a girly city-break to Boston! Four uni-girls; two from U.K. (country-girl and city-girl) and two from U.S. (Seattleite and New Yorker) made for a full house (or Air B'n'B) and a happy local liquor store! A few precious days of vacation booked and three days in a new city awaits.

Standing innovation for Amtrak and a comfortable, picturesque train ride from New York to Boston along the east coast. If you are used to the British transport networks, Amtrak is like travelling first class. Hello reclining seats, downloads on Netflix and a train picnic later. Flights to Boston are commonplace from most major American cities too (e.g. Seattle, New York etc.) and internationally.

Uber. Lyft. Curb. Whichever app you have, your chariot awaits in Boston. We met some interesting Uber drivers including one who sang the entire rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" en route  and gave us tips of where to go dancing, another practised out his English accent on us and one less amiable driver got into a shouting match due to his rather selfish parking outside our apartment! Whilst we were staying in an area south of Boston, we were conveniently located on the Red Line which was just two stops from South Station and five stops from Boston Common. Equally, Boston has earned its nickname as 'America's Walking City' due to it's close proximity making walking the #1 mode of transit!

Thank you Twitter, Instagram and IRL friends for recommendations of what to do in Boston. We had the perfect list to refer to in moments of decision and also had the freedom to follow the cobbled streets in the sunshine. If you're short for time, here are the must do's:

Day One
The Freedom Trail is the perfect 2.5 mile introduction to the city on foot taking in the history of the United States. Once you've worked up an appetite, head to the waterfront and feast your eyes upon the endless food stalls at Quincy's Food Market. Whilst in the area, look out for street entertainment and you can catch a ferry to Boston Harbour Islands. Take the afternoon to explore the #1 attraction in Boston with the Tea Party Ships & Museum for an interactive experience of the events that started the American revolution. Once the historical adventures are complete, Abigail's tea-room offers a sweet treat. Alternatively, Blackbird Doughnuts came highly recommended if you like to walk a few thousand steps before your sugar in-take!
Day Two
A trip to Boston wouldn't be complete without, at least, half a day at Harvard University. Prepare to feel intimidated by the genius that surrounds you and even entertains you on a free campus walk on the hour. You can easily hop on a train or grab a taxi to Harvard University. The surrounding streets offer great eateries and homeware shops that seem rather out of place for dorm rooms. Return to the hub of the city with a river cruise to see the city by water. We opted for a(nother) taxi to Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for a spot of fine art and culture. Explore the incredibly well-connected home of Isabella Gardner - described as the seventh wonder of Boston - adorned with famous masterpieces hanging from every wall. Work your way up to the top floor where you see an incredibly radical portrait of the lady herself which her husband banned from public display! Round up the day with a beer in the infamous Cheers pub.

Day Three
My third and final day exploring the idyllic Beacon Street area was my favourite. It's the place where Instagrammers and bloggers flock for the perfect picture. Grab a bite to eat from Tatte Bakery & Cafe for sweet pastries or brunch before weaving through the side streets complete with cobbled streets and brownstones. Stroll through Boston Common and Boston Public Gardens to hit the shopping district - Newbury Street aka. Fashion Walk - for your Kate Spade, Sephora and Reiss stores. For a more unique shopping experience, head to West Street to brown the open-air book store with $1-$5 bargains to be bought! On the topic of reading, Boston Public Library is gorgeous to explore! Top off your city-break by cheering along the Boston Red Sox at a baseball game!
I hope you've enjoyed my three-day itinerary - adequate time to explore, experience and devour Boston! All four of us left there feeling sure we would all move there if the opportunity arose!

Have you got any Boston highlights?


Atelier Cologne // A>B Review

To set the scene, I'm walking down Elizabeth Street in Lower Manhattan in the dappled sunshine on a Sunday afternoon. This neighbourhood is home to a beautiful array of fashion and beauty brands. The first Sezane 'L'Appartement' has recently opened here, the first on American soil with its perfectly Instagrammable pink velvet seating area, bouncer and red carpet! Just next door is the British leather emporium, Grenson, and beauty brand Aesop with it's incredible window displays and on-street samples that always remind me I need to use hand-cream more often! Across the street from here, my eyes fell upon the teal exterior of Atelier Cologne, a perfume house I had been lusting over in Sephora for months and months but never knowing it had its own bricks and mortar store. 

"Our dream: to create colognes to be worn as Pure Perfumes."

I figure when it comes to perfume, you are either incredibly loyal (yes, Chanel Mademoiselle fanatics, I'm looking at you) or you embrace a wardrobe of fragrances that you flit between depending on your mood, the season, etc. I have always been in the first camp and so a fragrance purchase is often either a predictable re-purchase or... kind of a big deal. 
My fragrance history is pretty much a shelfie full of citrus notes. Ever since my twelfth birthday when I received a gift of French Connection Eau de Toilette, I could not be swayed for almost five years. From my teens onwards, it is only the sharp, zesty scents that have appealed to me, meanwhile my friends emerged from a heavy cloud of Hugo Boss Deep Red, Gucci Rush and Ralph Lauren. Ryan and I even had Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin as our wedding fragrance! Needless to say, a perfume on display in Sephora featuring clementines is definitely going to pique my interest. And so, my love affair with Atelier Cologne began – a brand that celebrates and founded its first collection of exquisitely curated and long-lasting colognes purely from citrus and herbal notes - and I became a serial spritzer of California Clementine.  

"Each of our Cologne Absolue tells the story of treasured emotions and powerful memories."

The reason I photographed this blog imagery in the sunshine is that's exactly where the fragrance transports you. Hot summers in California with luscious, fresh and clean notes. As I'm sure you've heard (or realised), scents are very powerful at triggering emotional responses and connection. This is my first New York summer in a bottle. Despite us being now in October, the heat and humidity still lingers and I'm reaching for the bottle time and time again. 
This exquisite French brand has over 30 different fragrances in their repertoire and, depending on individual taste, can be unisex in their appeal. After ages chatting and learning about the brand and its husband and wife co-founding dream team, my nose and I had sniffed countless beautiful scents yet nothing could quite beat my California Clementine! 
What's great about visiting the store is you find out about their exclusive offers (and meet their friendly, passionate staff). In this instance, it was a complimentary 30ml travel size fragrance of your choice with any full size 200ml purchase. To top it off, I was also given a personalised leather case which they hand-pressed in-store. For me, this brand struck the right chord between great customer journey and incredible product.

Discover your fragrance wardrobe and nearest location with Atelier Cologne.


Tips for Starting a New Job

When recently asked by one of my friends for some advice on starting a new job, her response of 'THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I WILL DO ALL OF THIS!' made me think it might be worth sharing with the ether. Having been in the beauty industry for over six years, I have certainly experienced my fair share of first days and been witness to plenty of comings and goings to have formed a little army of tips. Whilst I hope there's something in there you can take away from this, at least I know it helped my friend who aced it through her probation and first six months in the role. Here goes...

1. Meeting new people.
This is probably the most overwhelming part of starting a new job. So many new faces. Introduction > hand shake > already forgotten their name. That's usually how it goes, right? They all know who you are (aka. the "new girl") but you don't have a flipping clue who they are. 

Top Tip: Draw a sketch of the office layout with how the desks are configured and write down the names of where people sit as soon as you are introduced. You can always ask your boss to help you fill in the blanks if it's too inappropriate to complete in real time. Once that's done, layer up with their job titles so you can start to make sense of who does what and those you'll be working with the most.
 I did this for one of my new starters and it helped her get up and out of her chair to speak to people as she knew where they sat! There's nothing more terrifying than walking around a packed office worrying you're going up to the wrong person!
2. Take a notebook with you everywhere...
...and always write notes. By writing it down you'll be processing the information and it will help to build upon your understanding of the wider business (this is important for identifying ways to improve efficiencies, ensure you work effectively in your role and make yourself indispensable to the company). Particularly the early notes you write will always be a great reference point when you get stuck into the day-to-day. It will also mean you don't have to ask your boss how to raise a purchase-order five times a day!
3. Ask Questions. 
Don't feel awkward or embarrassed to do so. No matter how basic the question, ask it to ensure you are 100% in your knowledge and understanding. We've all been there when we've sat at our desk worrying about asking a particular question for fear it might be stupid, allowing that (irrational) fear to grow into being "found out". That, put simply, will not happen. Every company has their unique way of working and it will take some time figuring out how they work.

Be mindful that not asking for clarification could lead to your team/manager presuming you know what you're doing or you presume something (which could be wrong/different). You're new so you can ask questions! Consider it a grace period when endless questions are tolerated (albeit read the signals if your manager / colleague happens to be crazy busy at the time and request some time to set aside with them one-on-one). Keep hold of your right to ask questions when you are years into a job too - it shows you are trying to constantly learn, improve and be as efficient as possible.
4. Filing. 
If you don't know me personally, it may be new information to you that I love to be organised. At the age of seven I had implemented my own filing system (much to my father's despair and diminished office supplies!). So, on hearing this, it will be no surprise to know that I'm efficient AF with my filing. Labelled folders, project sheets, status trackers, an email archive (or three) to make the New York City Library look easy to navigate. My advice? Build out a detailed filing system so you can locate something at the drop of a hat. Chances are you'll be juggling so many projects or details that searching through an inbox of 5000 emails is just not the one. My advice? Match your inbox filing system with your computer document filing system so you can easily access information - the file paths will become second nature and you'll be more efficient than Mr A navigating London's streets (he has inbuilt GPS, I'm not kidding). Also, never delete anything job-related as it is better to archive it than lose it altogether (this has nothing to do with most of us working in a blame culture, obvs).

5. Know what the business wants from you.
Understand what is expected of you in your role. It sounds simple but with the incoming barrage of emails, you can quickly lose sight of this. Keep a copy of your job description or KPIs at easy reach so you ensure you prioritise effectively. Deliver them and then some. Focus on the first half of that sentence in your first few weeks and then over the months develop upon that.

6. Show respect. 
When you're first meeting everyone, you won't know who is Director from Intern so just be polite and friendly and professional to everyone.

7. Start as you mean to go on. 
It's important to be aware of the company culture and to digest what you see and hear around you in your first few weeks (hopefully you will have an idea from asking about this in your interview!). Get a feel for how the office works, i.e. lunch breaks, tea breaks etc. There's no point working 12 hours days throughout your probation only to drop it off dramatically once you've passed. You're in it for the long haul so it's important that you don't set the wrong precedent. Consistency is a greater trait from a manager's perspective. 

8. Avoid 'cliques'. 
Stay reserved for the first few weeks as you get to know everyone's role in the company. There will inevitably be 'that' crowd so just be cautious before you jump in. That's not to say don't make friends, just let the dust settle and feel the lay of the land before you start a group WhatsApp.

9. Listen and adapt. 
Making notes will help craft your own little Bible for getting your job done, particularly where processes are concerned. Whilst it might all seem a bit alien at the start, put milestone dates in your diary to revisit your notes and refine them.  Once you become more familiar with the people and departments etc, you will have gained more perspective and understanding to see if you can improve upon these processes to make them more efficient based on your experience to date.
And my few final pointers:

  • For the managers out there, this book has been highly recommended for tackling a new role. Let the professional do the talking and make all the right moves in your first 90 days for maximum impression. 'The First 90 Days' by Michael D. Watkins.
  • Keep your phone off your desk. A buzzing phone and messages from your Mum/best friend/dog with the inevitable "How's it going, love?" is not a distraction to have on your first day!
  • Write a daily to-do list. It will help you keep focused, be at the top of your mind to share with your boss / in a meeting and give a great sense of satisfaction as you tick off! Top Tip: No more than 6 a day is realistic!
  • And finally, have confidence. You know your craft otherwise you wouldn't have got the job in the first place. Now, just show them why they hired you.


September Highlights

September is one of my favourite months for satisfying my inner neat-freak; clearing out the uncomfortable summer wardrobe (this pale rose isn’t built for heat) and hunkering down for Autumn and, with it, coat and jumper weather! Whilst the seasonal change embodies everything I love about Autumn, the weather gods were still in Summer mode and I could book-end the month with near-sunburn. Fuelled by a quick visit back to the UK to stock up on Earl Grey and Marmite, September was also the start of a whole stream of visitors.

After my little recharge of mother’s cooking and country walks, I was back in the office and working hardest of all at keeping balance in my every day. Taking ten minutes to walk around the block/park/square to get some fresh air (it's questionable how fresh the air is here but deep-breathing certainly offers short-term release) plus keeping my Vitamin D levels topped up! I’ve absolutely loved being back at Physique 57 to burn off the lunchtime carbs! I’ve even treated myself to a new sportswear wardrobe – H&M gym leggings are the best. I would wear them all day every day if I could! More stress-busting tips to ensure you don’t take the work-stress home with you here.

Whilst the stunning sunsets from our apartment window are happening earlier and earlier each day, I have been getting prepared for the evenings drawing in with a massive Amazon order of reading material to keep me entertained. I am channelling the positive visualisation of The Secret whilst getting swept up in the love triangle (or square?) of Paige Toon’s latest chick-lit The One We Fell In Love With. Check out my Autumn Reading List here.
I have absolutely loved celebrating International Podcast Day (30th September) and shared five podcasts every millennial should listen to covering every one of life’s topics. I couldn’t be without them on my commute to work, walks home from the gym and special shout out to the ‘Hey…it’s OK’ Glamour podcast for keeping me thoroughly entertained during some particularly boring PowerPoint presentation work! Since I’ve published that blog, I’ve received so many recommendations that my subscription box is going to be keeping me busy into winter!

Ticking off more items on my New York Bucket List, the month started with Labour Day weekend at the US Open. Tennis is perhaps my favourite sport to watch and I generally plan a stay-cation around Wimbledon every year.  In true American style, there was popcorn and hot-dogs to devour whilst watching the tennis greats in the Final 16. It was quite incredible to be on the Arthur Ashe Court watching the current No.1 Ladies and Mens champion (Hello, Nadal!) defend their title. 

The final weekend of September has not only brought with it my fabulous friend (and photographer of the above) - Elizabeth Ruth - but also my first Chinese takeaway!! Devastatingly, the noodles didn't come in a little cardboard box though!! On the topic of food , an incredible brunch at Two Hands in Tribeca and last-minute 11pm reservation at The Stanton Social – their tapas style food is worth staying up that late for! My sister discovered the dangerous nature of New York’s free-pouring Gin & Tonics at Pizza Beach and Ryan and I were again reminded of the advantages of living in the city that never sleeps when an East Village drinks session manifested itself into a Rite Aid trolley-dash at 2am. Don't judge. It certainly eased the next day hangover.

And a poignant final note is to say that being in New York on 9/11 was a very moving experience. As we live on the doorstep of the memorial sites and with the Freedom Tower the primary view from our window, we saw the preparations that went into their commemoration service with hundreds of service men marching the nearby streets. Having visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum the weekend before, it was a reminder of what this city has been through. A trip across the water to Jersey City gave the iconic skyline an incredibly emotional touch as the two beams of light reached up into the night’s sky.

Now, as October awaits, the stores are brimming with pumpkins of all shapes and sizes and the Halloween stores are popping up! I am excited for the leaves to change colour and a little trip to upstate New York to escape the city! Happy October everyone...


Podcasts Every Millennial Must Listen To

Podcasts seem to be having a moment in the spotlight. Anyone who is anyone is either creating their own series or being invited as guests onto others. For this reason, I have found myself gravitating towards the Podcast app more frequently in the last few weeks whilst Spotify has seen a definite decline in my attention. Coincidentally, the talk of much-loved podcasts has cropped up in several conversation of late that I now have hours of recommendations to commute, run and clean to whilst listening away. In honour of International Podcast Day on Saturday 30th September, I’m sharing my favourite of-the-moment audible gems which address literally every aspect of a Millennial’s life; from ‘Hey, it’s ok… to cut out a friend’, to ‘Let’s Discuss…how to budget’ and wouldn’t it be ‘Amazing If…I can get over my fear of senior people at work’. Get ready with that 'Subscribe' button...

1. 'At Home With...'
My fave two bloggers of the moment – Lily Pebbles and The Anna Edit - have joined forces and barged (elegantly) their way into the homes of some incredibly inspirational women. Guests include Lisa Eldridge, Alexia Inge and Liz Earle. If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like behind the front door of these accomplished women, I suggest you hop over to the iCast app where photographs of their home interiors accompany every interview. Warning: I had a shopping list as long as my arm after listening to these episodes! Conclusion? Great for your beauty collection, bad for your bank balance. You can listen to Series One here.

2. 'Glamour: Hey, It's OK'
One of my favourite features of Glamour magazine is the ‘Hey, it’s ok…’ page where each month you find comfort in reading weird thoughts and behaviour you never dared make public but are totally guilty of. For example, “Hey, it’s ok… if the answer to ‘Still or Sparkling water?’ is always ‘Tap’.” Or “Hey, it’s OK…if you read three books back to back on holiday, and a grand total of zero for the rest of the year.”

To hear that Jo Elvin, Editor-in-Chief, had been running a weekly podcast filled me with absolute FOMO at first, promptly followed by downloading an incredible back-catalogue of episodes. Talking to a celebrity guest and member of the Glamour team each week about all kinds of topics that surface themselves in Glamour features meetings gives you fly-on-the-wall status. From infidelity to match-making and job-hating to vegan-loving, you might never think you need to know about these topics but you absolutely do. Catch up on the episodes from the Glamour pod-cupboard here.

3. 'Let's Discuss'
Another blogger collaboration that brings relevant topics to their twenty-something target audience is from creators Ella Gregory and Monica Beatrice Welburn. They have both forged incredibly successful blogs over the past few years and have created a forum to share “all things life, love, work and wellbeing”. These two ladies have taught me so many helpful tips from stopping my efficient procrastination by ‘eating frogs for breakfast’ to effectively budgeting to buy a house and the key to a balanced diet. I literally feel like I’m listening to my very wise friends when I plug into this one. Two delightful series to listen to here.

4. 'Happy Mum Happy Baby'
My girl crush for Giovanna Fletcher shows no sign of subsiding. If you read my Autumn Book Haul, you’ll know I’ve just bought her book published earlier this year. Now, she’s expanded the concept of honest, straight-talking truths of motherhood with her nearest and dearest (which just happen to be an amazing club of celeb mums). Tearing apart the air-brushed versions of motherhood, this podcast is belly-aching hilarious and continues my education into the reality of being a mum from leaky boobs to sleep deprivation – it certainly won’t be for everyone. Only three episodes down so get subscribed and catch up here.

5. 'Amazing If'
The duo behind this podcast, Sarah Ellis and Helen Tupper, are a total inspiration. #CareerGoals #WorkInspo #GirlPower are a few of the hashtags that come to mind. Whilst independently their careers continue to soar, they have, admiringly, found the time and energy to create the ‘Amazing If’ brand devoted to helping people have happy careers. Alongside holding networking and workshop events in London, they’re writing books and now cracking into the podcast world. Focusing upon ‘confidence gremlins’, each week Sarah & Helen talk through those work scenarios we can all relate to such as ‘Fear of Presenting’ and ‘Fear of Senior People’. They offer great advice all wrapped up in real-life experiences of their own. Tackle your confidence gremlins here.

So, there you have it, my Top Five podcasts of the moment that keep me thoroughly entertained and often stifling giggles on a busy commuter subway journey. I’ll be keeping my headphones busy with these other honourable mentions on my radar that I am yet to delve into:

New York’s best girl, Lena Dunham, hosts 'Woman of The Hour'. The void in my life after the series finales of Girls has left me craving my fix of Lena Dunham.

‘The Heart of It with Estee Lalonde’ I am addicted to Estee’s Instagram stories and so excited to hear this upcoming series. The Pilot is available now and watch this space for more...

And the final and total wild card, 'My Dad Wrote A Porno'. The title implies what you’re in for and I take my hat off to Jamie Morton who totally makes the best of this cringe-worthy situation…that is to invite his friends to read through and critique the incredible wordsmith work-of-art that is ‘Belinda Blinked’ written by his Old Man. Perhaps best to listen to this one when you won't get caught laughing your head off in public. You will be in stitches - let the entertainment begin here.

Please let me know your favourites in the comment section below and, until next time, happy listening!


How To De-Stress From Work

You know it's going to be one of those weeks when you sit down at your desk on Monday morning, blink and it's 6pm. Your inbox resembles the aftermath of a Uni campus kebab shop, the to-do list is now spread over two pages and there's a sense of rising panic constricting your throat. Cue the late nights, early alarms and a bitter kiss goodbye to any kind of a life. Four weeks ago, this was me. I was a mess. A crying, sweating, stressful mess who by the evening, couldn't even find the words to construct a simple sentence. It was that bad. So, when Monday came around again, I promised myself I wasn't going to lose another week of my life to the never-ending abyss of work. This blog post has been a long time coming and I'm by no means now "cured", but these tips worked for me and maybe, maybe, they could work for you too!
Before we get stuck into it, I just want to caveat that these past few week when I have somewhat achieved more of a work/life balance, it hasn't been at the expense of effort, motivation, or giving anything less than 100% to my job. I've just made a few subtle changes to my head space that has allowed me to place emphasis on the things that make me feel better in myself; namely my diet, my exercise regime, and most importantly, my sanity. It wasn't easy, I have to admit. There were times I had to have a stern word with myself and I hate being told off! So, here's how I did it...

There is beauty in the simplicity of this one but I found it to have a profound effect on my state of mind. A job never comes with an end point. It's a never-ending stream of emails, requests and tasks. Your role is a series of projects with various deadlines and you know once one project is complete no sooner will the next one be upon you (or three). Once you actually say it aloud, it's so obvious! To that point, what is working until 10pm every night going to achieve? It's an impossible task to get your job done. You have to draw the line somewhere and it's down to you to determine whether that line is a hard finish at 6/7/8pm or "the line is a dot to you" and you're chasing a phantom hope of satisfaction striving for the unachievable 'job done' moment. How I used this to my advantage this week was to ensure that I was a) effectively prioritising throughout the day so I knew all urgent matters were dealt with (a to-do list helps here) and b) I acknowledged and reflected on the hard day's work I had put in. I thought about it like this; If I was working for my own company, would I be pleased with the bang I'd got for my buck?

This literally started by turning off my email notifications on my iPhone. Simple and effective but I hadn't quite realised how much I remained on 'high alert'. Given I work in a global company with offices in multiple timezones, the emails never cease! When your work phone and personal phone are one and the same, it's hard to be so disciplined to leave work at the office. Last Saturday morning, I made the point of switching off my emails and held strong until I was back in the office. I kept this discipline of switching off my work emails as I left the office which felt like a daily victory. I'd often contemplated this idea but was always terrified of how out of control my inbox would be without this, however I found I was more focused and productive during the hours I sat at my desk. I've stopped waking up, switching off my alarm and seeing straight away 35 unread emails - throat constricts, absolutely can't breath and a horrible start to each day. Plus, what is going to be really so urgent that reading an email at 11pm at night will do anything but ruin your evening and make for a fretful night's sleep. One my favourite quotes from my days working at L'Oreal was "It's PR, not ER!"
There's a reason holding your pulse-points is soothing and that's because you stop, focus and breathe. Breath is the most underrated asset we have in our arsenal which literally has the power to change our physical and mental responses to stress. Stop and count to ten. During an average day, I'd be terrified to see how many adrenaline spikes I punish my body with. I really challenged this on Tuesday early afternoon after a string of back-to-back meetings and raised action points when things just got overwhelming. To break the pattern, I stood up from my desk and walked to the kitchen to make a coffee. On the way, I took several deep breaths and forced my shoulders to drop. 'I can't do it all' I said to myself but I can get through this by compartmentalising and effectively prioritising. Stepping away from your desk forces your body to move and deep breaths can really help release some of that tension. Make a drink, take a quick breather - stop the anxiety in its tracks and talk to yourself calmly - you got this, girl!
I'm an emotional eater. Possibly the biggest emotional eater. We were chatting in the office about those of us cursed with this trait who wish we could be the 'too-nervous-to-eat' kind of stress-head. Instead, and rather unfortunately, I find the hand to mouth action rather soothing (I blame my mother, it must be something to do with my childhood!). Looking back at my final year of University, those crucial last weeks writing my dissertation and I barely left my desk except to pop to the loo and stock up on Minstrels from the corner-shop. Time for a nice nutritional meal? No way! Constant feeding of chocolatey treats? Absolutely.

These days my daily dependency in the working world is Diet Coke. Something about the fizz and all the E-numbers my body craves and I have a stupid association between a productive afternoon and this canned drink. But this week, in a bid to increase my overall wellness, I swapped it for Kombucha which is a rather tasty preoiotic drink to aid digestion, mood and mental stability. Thank you Liz Earle for the tip via 'At Home With' series by The Anna Edit and Lily Pebbles. Flavoured with Pink Lady Apples, it really is a delightful tasting drink. It's not giant leap for mankind but for me, this was monumental. A fizzy drink that is a) good for you and b) good for you. Every sip and I felt like my body wasn't getting bloated by the greedy stress-ball within!
As most of you will know from reading my blog over the past year, I'm very lazy when it comes to exercise. It took a looming wedding and revealing wedding dress to get any kind of gym dedication out of me. Now there is no similar motivation (sorry Ryan, welcome to married life), or so I thought until I realised my clothes were getting tighter. Maybe the launderette machines were shrinking them? At the end of a working day there's barely enough energy left in me to stay awake on the subway ride home, let alone squeeze into some exercise leggings and burn come calories. Thanks to ClassPass though, I discovered and fell in love with Physique 57. Having realised in Spring this year how bad my mental head space was and identifying that my lack of exercise could easily be exacerbating the situation, I took control and booked a month's unlimited pass to the studio. I was in a great groove of weekend classes but weekdays? Nuh-uh. At my most-stressed point, I didn't make it to a single class and I could feel myself getting more and more down about it as the week went on. This week, I turned it around. I checked the night before for the timetable so I could know exactly where I had to be and when. And I made a point of leaving on time. On one occasion I had to bring my laptop home as I hadn't got everything done but I wasn't prepared to let it be at expense of my exercise class. After a day of mental exhaustion, there's nothing more satisfying, I have found, that the physical exertion of overloading your muscles and clearing your head by the sheer concentration that's required at the barre!

It wasn't uncommon for a day to go by where I wouldn't leave the office at all between arriving and leaving. In the Winter, I barely see daylight. Once I'm in, I'm sucked in and it's very hard to get away.
And I'm pale so you can bet what that did for my complexion! So I figured 'Rose by name, Rose by nature', I need a little fresh air and water to bloom! Fifteen minutes outside of the office to stretch my legs and soak up some Vitamin D is just what the doctor ordered. And realistically, what harm is fifteen minutes in the schemes of things? I'm working my way up to the full hour (I can hear my New York colleagues gasping at the sheer thought...!)
This has the most calming effect on me but having the time to do it is another thing! So, I made a point to enjoy each 12 minute subway journey to and from work to sit on my Kindle app and just read. This has stopped me getting irate at the dropping WiFi connection and frantically iPhone typing a response to work emails and meant I savour a little of the calm before the storm. I've just finished reading Giovanna Fletcher's 'Billy and Me' which was just delightful and provided an escape into the British countryside for a dose of baking and romance! I'm now tucking into my AUTUMN READING LIST - check out the blog post here.

So there you have it...small steps for mankind but a giant leap for my sanity. I hope if even one of these points works for you then it was worth writing! Is there anything that really works for you to help switch off or battle with stress? I'm always up for more recommendations to keep me on this path! Sharing is caring, after all.

© Mrs A to B

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