One Month In | London 2016

So much has happened over the past few weeks here in London! I’m happy to say that I’m no longer homesick and am in love with the city!

Summary: I now have several different friend groups, adults to talk to whom I’ve met through volunteering, designers to keep in touch with, tourist attractions checked off the bucket list and an excellent internship that’s progressing wonderfully!

—This is where I remember to breathe.

I distinctly remember the first night that changed everything:

Friday, September 16th: The Mary Martin London Fashion Show

This was the first event I decided to go to alone. Completely by myself, I went to this fashion show hosted at the Kensington Close Hotel, which was a stunning venue with glass chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.

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No. 41 inside the Kensington Close Hotel

Before this event, I questioned my ability to meet people on my own.

It’s true what they say about when you’re by yourself: you’re forced to talk to others! But just in case this plan failed, I did do a little prep work. I may have read articles on how to talk to people on the tube ride to the event.

They had a few good tips!

One article was How to Network When You’re an Introvert, which emphasized making connections online and not overthinking things.

So I posted in the Facebook event that if anyone was thinking of going to the show, but had no one to go with, I would be walking around with a camera taking pictures for my blog. This lead to a few direct messages from people attending the event.

Through my Google rendezvous, I also stumbled upon the concept of standing by the bar. People are always ordering drinks which requires waiting time! Genius.

So, after changing into my confidence-boosting heels in the washroom (where I briefly stumbled into two models and the designer herself), I stood by the bar and had my camera slung around my neck like the professional photographer that I am.

There was a small group of guys at the bar; I introduced myself to someone which was followed by many more introductions, and before I knew it, I had met a over a dozen people.

I never expected people to be so nice to me! The sense of feeling welcome was a great shock to how I thought people would be at fashion events. (Devil Wears Prada, anyone?) I took over one hundred photographs, yet the highlight was knowing I could be fine on my own.

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Marie Martin London 2016
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Two gentlemen in the centre, requesting an appearance on The Blog

So that was the first event of many! I met some amazing people from all over the world; it was a very exciting experience and an absolutely amazing show!

I have many more events to write about; I think I’ll try adding a ‘Fashion’ segment soon! Slightly more formal posts with tons of pictures (approved by the designers beforehand). Let me know if you think that’s a good idea!

Guess I should try to sleep now? 3 a.m. sure does come fast!

xx

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One Week In | London 2016

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London Bridge

One week later, and I’m still alive! It’s been quite the adventure trying to get used to being in a different time zone (+5 hours). I still can only sleep a maximum of three hours per night. My roomie suggests I take Melatonin; but will it actually help this level of sleep-deprivation?

I bought a desk fan and foam topper for my bed that I’m still waiting for in the mail. Hopefully this combination will help, in addition to fairy lights, as I also have this same set-up at home.

Restoring a sense of normality is crucial for me at this point. It’s been a mixed experience so far, as this is my first time living on my own, far from my friends and family (in Ottawa, Canada).

All of the other interns have lived on their own before, so I seem to be the one having the most difficulty adjusting. I love the city itself, however there is a sense that something is missing. Perhaps sleep!

This past weekend was a fun break from my internship; check out the pictures I’ve taken so far! Many more to come.

If you have any tips for jet lag or missing home, please let me know!

 

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Wine & Cheese
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Afternoon Tea

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Arriving in London, UK

Well, the day finally came! Apologies for no posts this past week; I barely had time to sleep and eat, let alone blog. Even now I’m going off of three hours of sleep since Friday night.

Flying for the first time was crazy! I have a 10 minute video just of my first take-off. We hit a lot of turbulence on my flight to London, which the screaming child in front of me wasn’t too fond of. Before the flight, I thought: ‘If a kid can do it, so can I!’

There went that dream.

My second day has been much more calm. I started my internship today, and although that was a little nerve-wracking, it provided a nice, structured routine.

Work I can handle! It’s everything else that is hard. For instance, I just boiled pasta in the microwave because I couldn’t figure out the stove and was too tired/hungry to ask the front desk all the way down on the first floor.

I’ll be posting again on Thursday, so maybe by then I will have mastered how to live and survive by myself! (Another distant dream.)

Some pictures:

Leaving TorontoChasing the SunBefore landing in LondonDay ViewDeliciousnessMy View

That building is “commonly” known as the Gherkin building. I googled ‘rocket building in London.’ You’re welcome.

Let me know of any things I absolutely must do around this area! So far I’ve only managed to go to Boots and Tesco.

Going Out More Often (GOMO) | Travel

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The past year hasn’t succumbed to much going out for me. Saving money to travel and intern abroad has taken its toll! Both by not having money to spend on events, or time to try new things due to work.

This is all about to change!

In less than two weeks I will officially be living in London, interning for 4 months and travelling around on weekends.

As my social hibernation comes to an end, I’d like to share just what I have in store for the first few weeks of my internship!

1. Afternoon Tea 

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Bea’s Cake Boutique

Such a quintessential British experience! The first weekend of my internship, there is a tea-going experience at Bea’s of Bloomsbury planned for us interns. Fancy drinks, sandwiches and deserts are to be expected!

How delicious do those treats look?

Photo Credit: Bea’s Cake Boutique

2. Secret Gardens of London

Now, I know these may not actually be secret; but a lovely Vogue UK article alerted me of their presence. It’s always great to know the non touristy places, perfect for capturing special pictures or just enjoying some quiet in a busy city.

Photo Credit: Vogue UK

3. Cliffs of Moher | Ireland

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A close friend of mine from university is randomly starting her Master’s program in Cork, Ireland when I’m starting my internship in London, England. What a perfect chance to get together and spend a weekend trip sight-seeing!

I’d love to see the Cliff’s of Moher, as the area looks stunning. There are various day packages that include transportation.

5. The British Museum 

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The British Museum, London

One classic tourist destination is the British Museum. I love walking through museums and galleries in general, so I’m expecting to have a great time in a place with so much culture!

You might catch me here more than once casually strolling along, or sitting on those fancy white steps, people-watching.

4. Networking Events

Always liking to be prepared, I scheduled different networking events related to beauty/fashion/PR into my calendar.

Eventbrite has been my main supply for these events! You can even track your events with their online RSVP page. It’s a great resource for different cities, wherever your location.

For instance, there are events for bloggers like #BloggersFestival and Bloggers Xmas! Now try and tell me those don’t sound like fun.

I hope I’ve inspired some of you to try new things and get out of your comfort zone! You never know who you might meet.

I mean . . .

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“The further you get away from yourself, the more challenging it is. Not to be in your comfort zone is great fun.” —Benedict Cumberbatch

Photo Credit: Pinterest

If you know of any cool things to do in London, let me know! I’ll be living in Zone 1 this fall.

To Journal or Not to Journal? | Travel

I’ve been researching the past few days on personal experiences related to travel in the UK. I found this great website, Rick Steves Travel Form, that has daily questions and answers about travel in England.

It has been great to read what locals think of certain spots in London, as well as experienced travellers. Amidst the posts, I came across a comment that linked to a travel journal by a woman whose first trip solo was in London.

Since I’m going in less than a month and leaving on my own, I figured I should check it out! The blog is by Deborah Guber and titled The Independent Traveler | The wayfaring journals of a single woman making her way through Europe, one city at a time.

Reading through her daily journeys made me think that I could do that too, especially to serve as a memory keep-sake for years down the line.

It might be overly ambitious to think it’s possible to create these logs on top of my twice per week posts and the fact that I will be interning full-time in London and travelling on my weekends.

I’m not sure, but it would be amazing if I could pull it off! If anyone else travel blogs or  knows of any good ones—feel free to comment links! I love getting inspiration from reading what people have done.

Goals, Plans, Success | London 2016

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So everything is coming together for my trip in exactly one month! I called my phone provider today to find out the details of paying my device balance, cancelling my contract and unlocking my phone.

To my surprise, I spoke with a lovely person who clarified the process and took as many times as it needed for me to feel 100% confident on what I needed to do.

Since I will be arriving in London (UK) the day before my internship starts, I went ahead and ordered a UK SIM card off eBay with the carrier o2. Now I have a number that will work over there, and I can make business cards ahead of time which is one less thing to worry about. I want to spend as much time over there having a great time, not fussing over details!

Other than that, I am really excited to start my placement and get my foot in the right doors. I plan on blogging throughout my stay—expect a lot more travel posts! I can’t wait to start using my new mirrorless camera (Sony a500), of which I blogged about here.

Stay tuned, and let me know if any of you will be moseying around England this fall! I hope to visit many other cities other than London on the weekends—it’s so hard to choose between them all!

If you had to choose, what city would you visit in all of the UK (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland & Wales) and why?

 

Officially an Intern

So a few days ago I was informed of an interview that I would be doing today at 5 a.m. (10 a.m. in London) via Skype. Despite the early call-time, I was super excited and nervous about it for the past few days! It was with this cool fashion trend forecasting agency, and I am happy to say I landed the internship position.

I might go more into detail about it in a future blog post—for now I am not sure how much I can really say about it. What I will say is that it is exactly what I was hoping for!

I have always been interested in fashion/beauty/lifestyle articles and brands, so it is amazing that I am getting the opportunity to see some behind the scenes action.

That’s all I’ll share about it for now, but there will definitely be more posts to come as I get ready for London fall 2016!

 

Sleep Schedule

With such a varied work schedule, it can often be hard to pencil in sleep. I had a beautiful streak a few months back where I was going to bed at 10:30 p.m. and waking at 6 a.m. Alas, that didn’t last long.

Last night was the first time in weeks I had a solid five hours of sleep without waking up—quite the achievement! My friends think I’m crazy for being able to run on three hours, but I always think nothing is impossible with caffeine at hand.

Sure, you get those pesky eye twitches, jittery hands and occasional brain fog, but the insane amount of energy received is worth it! Having the motivation inside your mind match the energy needed to get things done is a great position to be in.

Do any of you night owls rely on caffeine as much as I do? Early birds, please share your ways in the witchcraft of normal sleep cycles!

I’ve heard of these mystical guidelines:

  • Turn off electronics an hour before bed
  • Have a routine every night
  • Only use your bed for sleep
  • Do not eat a large meal or drink a lot before bed
  • Do not exercise preceding sleep

These tips seem as foreign as my knowledge of politics. How does one do these things? Is it nature or nurture? These are the questions I have late at night.