Ah, redundancy. We meet again.

That was me last Autumn when I found myself in a familiar situation – my career, my identity, my lifestyle cut short once again by decisions out of my control, by budgets that couldn’t support me and by a misguided big wig who didn’t believe I could cut it. Yes, life threw me another redundancy sentence, but this time I embraced it, left my former job within a week and didn’t look back – only now to reflect and share what I learned.

The first time I was made redundant, I was one of fifty. We were a small, struggling start up and the owner decided to close up shop so everyone in the company was getting let go. That was scary. I didn’t know how to navigate the world without a job. For someone who likes to – has to be in control, not knowing what was next was nerve-wracking. But I did eventually find another job, the perfect job. It was for a cool, modern fashion brand and it was my dream role, working on editorial, art directing photoshoots, and when it finally became available, I leapt and poured my heart into every interview and assignment they threw at me and I got the offer!

The second time I was made redundant in my career, I had no fear. I had gone through the seven stages and came out the other end, so I knew in my bones that I would come out the other end again. I welcomed this redundancy with open arms, it was the break I needed but was too scared to take on my own. You see, my dream job had turned out to be a nightmare. I was indifferent with some of my co-workers, emotionally drained, wracked with anxiety, drowning in unachievable expectations. When I left, the first thing I did was finally switch off.

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Invest in yourself.

I didn’t look for a new job straight away, I needed to nourish myself again and patch up my soul. It was still Summer so I spent a month soaking up rays in the park, reading my favourite magazines that I never had time to read, spending long sessions at the gym working out. I simply recalibrated. Sometimes what we all need is a moment, a breath and a chance to acknowledge ourselves. One of the most important lessons that I learned after being made redundant was the realisation that I had let my work make me miserable, I allowed it to consume my life and my weekends, I wore my despair and anxiety on my face, in my expressions. I learned never to do that again.

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Be free and freelance.

I went freelance for 9 months mainly as a photoshoot stylist and was on the books at a commercial fashion studio. It had some bittersweet moments. On some days, I found myself dressing mannequins for eCommerce product shoots, when I used to be the one managing the person who dressed the mannequins for eCommerce product shoots. It truly felt like a step down, however, my experience directing shoots and working with stylists for a number of years meant that I tackled my quota with speed, I was comfortable in a set environment and I knew the styling tricks to get the best shot. All of this soon led me to plum shoots and being requested by photographers to work with them. I got sent to Germany for shoots, I got sent to Leicester to work with a big client – it was all great experience and put my transferrable skills to great use. Being free as a freelancer also meant that I had the luxury of going back home for seven weeks to New York City and to take up an online graphic design course on the days I wasn’t working. Stepping outside the 9-to-5 full time bubble helped me see there’s so much more out there if you’re willing to seek it and try it out.

Take a leap of faith.

I worked in the fashion industry for 8 years and it hadn’t dawned on me that I didn’t have to keep looking within this industry for work. In my down time, I realised a few things. I didn’t particularly like the irrelevant dramas over a dress, the constant competition with other fashion brands, or the drop-everything-we-must-launch-20%-off-on-the-web-right-now-we-are-down-10%-vs-last-week drill. I also shuddered when I thought of stepping into yet another fashion brand’s editorial team. I realised, I was done.

Jump to present time and I still work in creative, but now I look after creative branding for an events company. The role calls on my creative eye, my design skills, my project management skills, my presentation skills, but without the soul-crushing pressure that I thought was part and parcel of a great day’s work, but really was just the characteristics of your average fashion company.

No regrets.

There’s a saying that goes, “You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be”, and I have no regrets of where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, what I’ve gone through as it all led me to where I am now, and I’m happier than ever. In the time I was let go at my last full time role, I’ve made new friends through freelancing, I developed my technical design skills and I was able to spend quality time in New York with my family.

Redundancy can be life changing and it can be the best thing that happens to you. The biggest lesson from redundancy is that you learn to be resilient. Shine on.

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I was reluctant to quit my gym after moving out of my beloved Shoreditch (in East London) but the introduction of a 40 minute bus ride from Bow (even further East London) was seriously killing my motivation. With no better gym in my area to replace and in a bid to also save some money, I decided to invest in my own set of weights to start a home gym. But I needed an outlet for cardio and as it luckily turned out, five minutes from my new place is the River Lea canals. I had found my running trail – a variety of pavement that led me to the Olympic Park, Hackney Wick or Victoria Park and back in 40 minutes.

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Running outdoors is hard. Much harder than running on a treadmill as I immediately found out when I started. With no belt to aid my legs and wind resistance to factor in, I wasn’t clocking the same mileage I had at the gym and frankly I was running out of puff faster too, having to stop and walk it off often. However, as with all things, my body got used to running outdoors and cliche as it sounds, I just got better at it the more kilometres I clocked, able to run longer distances without stopping for a breather. I was elated. Science is awesome.

My Essentials. 

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Running outdoors posed a new set of requirements. I needed an easy-grip water bottle that wouldn’t be annoying to carry, somewhere to keep my keys safe, something to keep my iPod on my person and not in my sweaty hands – and oh yes, even tissues for the dreaded hay fever symptoms that running outside in the summer brings.

Clockwise from leftFitbit Alta Wristband £100Sweaty Betty Infinity Workout Bra £50Sweaty Betty Power Mesh Leggings £90Reebok running bottle £3.50Reebok Slim Bum Bag £10, Nike Air Zoom Structure 20 Solstice £100USA Pro Boyfriend Tank £8.50

My Playlist. Album covers

I have a bit of an eclectic taste in running music. Most people listen to dance or Rihanna. I listen to heavy rock or indie. Or if I want something a little more dance-y, then I’ll listen to MØ or Marina and the Diamonds. Though, hear me out on this one. Angels and Airwaves, this Californian band headed up by ex-Blink 182 guitarist Tom Delonge, is my favourite for running. Their epic 5-minute long tunes are a slow build to the most euphoric endings and it just makes me run faster and run harder. As Tom once implied about their debut album, it’s made to be listened through headphones.

Ah, running. I wholeheartedly recommend it, when I’m particularly feeling bad, I picture myself running away from my problems or that awful week I just had. It works. So running, are you in or out? While the weather is awesome here in the U.K. you’ll definitely find me chasing pavement.

Image source: Pinterest & Google

1/ Master of None 2

Comedian Aziz Ansari’s wonderful Netflix show, Master of None is back for a second season and all 10 episodes are available to stream now. Anyone who follows Aziz on Instagram will already know of his hilarious obsession with pasta. And those should be unsurprised but pleasantly amused that the start of the season sees his character, Dev and best mate, gentle giant Arnold, played by Eric Wareheim in Italy learning how to make the aforementioned pasta, eating pasta and finding their way abroad (possibly with more pasta).

Master on None fans, expect the same sweet, quirky, loveable, uncomfortable themes you fell in love with in season one but with much, much more of it in season two. I’m already hooked.

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2/ Unicorns: Mythical Creature or Social Media Fodder?

Was Starbuck’s recent creation, the playfully named Unicorn Frappuccino, a feat of culinary expertise or just the product of some genius in their marketing department? Some critics had dubbed the colour changing beverage as a pure social media ploy because surely who wants to drink that, but wow it sure looks freaking cool!

And with such a photogenic product came the selfies and product placement peppering our Instagram and Pinterest feeds. Even if this drink wasn’t available in your country, you were sure to know about it. Hello, free advertising.

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3/ Mindhorn

You can say the kooky cult British comedy, The Mighty Boosh is like Marmite. You either love it or hate it. But really, I think, you either get it or you don’t get the very-far-out-there style of humour comic visionaries, Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding deliver, the writers of the show.

After three seasons, The Mighty Boosh had left our TVs, however new to cinemas this month, with the film Mindhorn written by Julian Barratt and fellow Boosh castmate, Simon Farnaby, we’re hoping for a glimpse of Boosh-style comedy once again.

Julian Barratt plays Bruce P. Mindhorn, a fictional detective who has a bionic eye that could “see the truth”. Cue to present times and he’s now middle aged, overweight and living a not-so-glamorous life in North London. When a serial killer is on the loose who will only speak to Mindhorn, whom he believes to be real, he has to reprise his role to help save the day. Silly stuff but the concept works and is a must-see for May.

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4/ Danny Wallace

No one ever looks forward to their morning commute to work but Thursday is my new favourite day to travel on the tube because it’s Shortlist day. Shortlist, the free weekly culture mag that gets handed out in front of the Tube, targeted to male readers yes, but I prefer the tone of voice and is a comical relief to Wednesday’s sober Stylist magazine.

I pick up a copy on my way into the station and quickly thumb through its pages until I land on my weekly written crush, Danny Wallace’s column on…well, he doesn’t really have a weekly theme except for his quirky writing style which I delight in. With his pauses, his awkward inner dialogue and the way he magnifies the most uninspired, mundane things of every day life, his articles provide ten minutes of pure joy to my commute and to my day.

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5/ No Ka’oi

Meet the utterly cool and modern luxury sportswear brand that fuses fashion and function. Fashercise at its finest, this brand’s strong in delivering eye-catching block colour combinations, stripes and graphic patterns. If you haven’t gone to the gym in a while, now you have no excuse.

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Images source: 1/ Netflix.com, 2/ Pinterest, 3/ Google images, 4/ Google images, 5/ No Ka’oi

Call it free speech, passive aggression or just simply DIY gone awry, the humble button, badge, pin is the latest favoured accessory to adorn. Like tattoos but without the commitment, the enamel pin and its siblings, the brooch and the badge, are the accessible, affordable and playful way to express your individual style and opinions.

Paired with the also-ubiquitous classic sweatshirt or denim jacket, how do you see yourself in this sartorial relationship?

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You’re opinionated, judgemental and super knowledgeable. You have a lot on your mind and you’re not afraid of letting everyone know it but hey, you do have a point there, so tell me more…

The Vocalist: Can Pep Rey Oversized Sweatshirt £213, Naps Before Chaps Pin £7.50, Middle Finger Pin $10Not You Pin £7.50, Depressed AF Pin $12Erase You Pin $9, Hollyweird Pin $12Troll Doll Trump Pin $10, Nasty Woman Pin $10

button badge pin_the nostalgist
You’re championing all that happened yesteryear cos frankly the 00s just doesn’t cut it for you like the feel-good 80s or the mostly-melancholy 90s do. You miss cassette tapes, your blazer sleeves are rolled, you geeked out with the re-release of the Nokia 3310 because snake, and that’s OK!

The Nostalgist: Acne Studios Blå Konst Denim Jacket £320Slide Me In Disk Pin $12Date With Zack Pin $7.50Convergence Badge $2.40Golden Girls Blanche Pin $12Trivial Pursuit Pin £6Paper Origami Fortune Teller Pin £6Synth Keyboard Pin £7.50

button badge pin_the culturalist

Wes Anderson is your hero, High Fidelity is your favourite film and you subscribe to Vice Magazine. You’re effortlessly clued in to the latest meme, hashtag and viral so naturally your badge game is on point too.

The Culturalist: Pull&Bear Hooded Sweatshirt £18She’s My Rushmore Pin £8, RipNDip Falling For Nermal Pin $10, Drake Hotline Bling Pin £6.80Fuck Jerry Pin $12RipNDip Wart Pin $10Invader Emoji Pin $12Obey Andre The Giant Badge £7, Stranger Things Dustin Pin £6

I’m in love with fashion right now. SS17 is blooming with florals, entwined in bows and ruffles, off the grid with gingham and awash in pale pinks. It’s unashamedly feminine but not overtly girly. That’s because this season ruffles are folded into shredded denim, bows are knotted onto skate style trainers and florals, they repeat and play all over everything. Go bold or go home, it’s girl gang season and these are the pieces to wear now.

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Left to right: Caroline Constas Gabriella Off The Shoulder Top £364, New Look Gingham Floral Bandana £8, Sandy Liang Accord Gingham & Lace Dress £625, Sonia Rykiel Cropped Gingham Trousers £570Christopher Kane Gingham Shirt £475, Marques Almeida Wraparound Gingham Sandals £250

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Left to right: Philosophy Di Lorenzo Serafini Cropped Ruffled Denim Top £315, J.W. Anderson Ruffled Suede Boots £655Isa Arfen Amazon Stripe Knot Top £445, Topshop Flute Sleeve Lace Dress £38, No.21 Satin Knot Bag £380Pull&Bear Frill Sweatshirt £26

florals

Left to right: Topshop Embroidered & Floral Print Jumpsuit £49, Pull&Bear Floral Print Halter Top £13, Marni Embellished Floral Earrings £390, Zara Floral Print Gingham Tunic £40, Fendi Strap You Bag Strap £780, Topshop Embroidered Knot Front T-shirt £36, Zara Floral Fabric High Heel Ankle Boots £60

 1/ Stefani Nurding

Skateboarder, blogger, concrete chameleon and all-round cool chick Stefani Nurding is one to follow. I forgot when and how I found her on Instagram but I’m so glad I have. She’s a girl close to my heart – championing an unabashed love for fashion on and off the ramp, a knack for creative DIY and a JFDI attitude.

She’s clashing fashion and skateboarding in an accessible way and that’s pretty cool in my book; a definite hit.

Stefani Nurding Skateboader

2 / Sonic Highways

A history lesson, a tour around America’s greatest cities and a whole lot of awesome musical talent. No genre is left unturned or hasn’t inspired Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters to create their latest album of the same name – a product of their amazing 8-part documentary that’s now on Netflix.

The series puts the spotlight on various cities across America, each with its own unique musical breakthrough such as the grunge movement (Seattle) or hip-hop meets rock (New York City). As told by local musicians, producers and the Foo Fighter’s own account of these great infamous cities, it’s a visual and audible treat.

Season 2 has been signed off and in the works, so watch Season 1 now!

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3 / The original IT film

No one is more excited about the film remake of Stephen King’s IT than me. I love the movie. I love its place in the horror genre. I love Pennywise’s catchphrases. I love that the 1990 film is three hours long.

These days the blood-filled horror scenes and Pennywise (that’s the “clown” by the way) looks pretty cut-and-paste circa Evil Dead, but the psychology and edit of the original film, a story that plays out from a child’s point of view to adulthood some 30 years later on still feels new.

The film remake which features Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard (yay!) comes out on my birthday, 8th September so hell-yeaaa, double celebration!

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4 / The 1975

January’s issue of GQ magazine listed The 1975 frontman Matt Healy as one of 2017’s Worst Dressed Men. Wardrobe “malfunctions” aside, I haven’t been this excited and obsessed with a band’s music since I was 19 and nothing my favourite band ever released could possibly be bad.

I love this band right now – their lyrics are pure poetry, their album artwork is an Instagram / Pinterest / Tumblr’s dream and frankly their songs are catchy AF!

Hard to choose a favourite, but…“Somebody Else”, “Settle Down” and “Heart Out” get a mention. A must listen.

the 1975 lead singer

5 / This Blog

I once read an article about blogging in general and something that resonated with me was the author saying that when you start writing again in a dormant blog, you don’t need the all-too-often, “Hey sorry, I haven’t blogged in a while” post because no one cares – just start writing again.

I must admit though I’m no longer living in Shoreditch as my blog title suggests, but I decided not to change the name in its revival. Having lived in the epicentre of Shoreditch for 12 years (like, on or metres from Curtain Road), I’m still a girl from Shoreditch at heart and Bow just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Confessions Of

Images source: 1/ theconcretechameleon.com, 2/ billboard.com, 3/ Shortlist magazine, 4/ the1975.com, 5/ blogger’s own.

Who run the world? Girls, obvs.

With 8th March celebrating International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day just round the corner (in the UK), it’s the perfect time to give a shout out to my favourite females be it in music, film or fashion. These are just some of the leading ladies who I look to for a daily dose of style inspo.

Jenna Lyons.
Creative Director & President of J.Crew

What successful, aspirational and influential looks like, not to mention super style icon. Jenna’s career ascent is one every budding fashion careerist should read up about. My favourite article on Jenna is this one from Fast Company written in 2013.

Jenna Lyons

Sky Ferreira.
Model and Singer

The enfant terrible of the modelling world, I adore Sky’s multi-faceted looks going from goth to grunge to glam and back round again – she pulls it off every time, and brings her savvy style to the music world too.

Sky Ferriera

Lights.
Singer & Songwriter

Lights’ many solo albums are a shining example of her wonderful songwriting, synth and guitar abilities, but it was her haunting support vocals featured on British metalcore band, Bring Me The Horizon’s 2010 release, There Is A Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven Let’s Keep It A Secret. for their track, “Don’t Go”, that has got me absolutely hooked. She’s got an angelic voice that lends itself perfectly to her own brand of edgy pop down to the heaviest of heavy metal tunes.

Singer Lights

Images source: Pinterest