The post university reality check

Everyone tells you that university is the gateway to a better future, and I guess in some ways that is true. What they don't tell you is that leaving university sucks. When you're at uni you have so much freedom and (almost) no responsibilities and if you're like me, you have lots of amazing plans for the future and can't wait to leave. Well unfortunately, as I am very painfully finding out right now, those plans don't always work out too well.

Job application tips

I've been reading a lot of CVs recently as we've been hiring at my work and have also been applying for a lot of jobs myself, so I thought it may be useful to give some tips on job applications from things I've spotted in other people's and mistakes that I know I've made myself.

Always adjust your CV
I think some people make a CV once and then just leave it and send it out with every application. It's so incredibly important to adjust your CV for the role you're applying for. I have a retail CV which highlights my experience in customer service and doesn't focus on my education and marketing experience so much, and I have a marketing CV which is the exact opposite. Before you send off your application, have a quick look through your CV and see if you have highlighted all the skills they are looking for.

Simplicity is always better
I have seen so many CVs where the applicant has written paragraphs about each job, and it's great that they have made that effort, but no one is actually going to read that. Always try and go for a simple layout that flows well and makes it easy for the hiring manager to scan quickly. If they can glance over it and see the main skills and experience they are looking for, then they will come back and read it in more detail. If they are faced with a large block of text that they have to spend ten minutes sifting through, they probably won't bother.

Put the most important information on the first page
Your CV should never be longer than two pages but I'm a firm believer in having the most important information on the first page. My CV starts with my contact information, a short profile highlighting my main skills (this is literally only two sentences) and a summary of my education. Note: you do NOT need to list all the GSCEs you did, this just takes up valuable space and it's something that I see a lot. If you feel like you should mention your grades, go for something like 'Five As and three A*s including mathematics and biology'. Chances are if you have a degree, people won't care about your GCSE grades at all so there's no point including them for the sake of it. After my education summary I have a section called 'Relevant experience' where I list all the experience that is (you guessed it) relevant for the job I'm applying for. Organising things this way means that the first page isn't cluttered with things like my current sales job, when what I'm applying for is a marketing role. All my other experience is then listed on the second page, along with some interests (I always think this adds a nice personal touch and makes you more interesting), my language and IT skills. This way the recruiter can see the main things they need at a glance but can still see all my experience if the first page has piqued their interest.

A good cover letter goes a long way
We've covered the CV, let's talk about the cover letter. It's an extension of your CV where you can really highlight your skills and tell the company why you would be the best person for the job. I usually like to start with a short paragraph about why I want to work in that specific company and then delve into my specific skills and how I could apply them in that job. I do have a template for my cover letter because obviously I tend to mention the same things, but it's incredibly important that you review this for every single job to show them not only that you're the person they're looking for, but also that you have a genuine interest in working for their company.

Time Management Tips

I know what you're thinking... 'why is she trying to tell us about time management, she didn't even manage to keep her blog running the past few months'. Well hear me out. I've always been absolutely terrible at time management and never really got anything done. However, over the past few months I have become incredibly busy and had to juggle a master's degree, a part time job, being part of a society committee and a social life, so I've started to become a lot better at time management! Here are a few things that I learned along the way:

Little changes I've made to become healthier

Being healthy is a topic that everyone talks about because let's face it, most of us are trying to eat better, drink more water or do more exercise. It can be hard and god knows I've stuggled with it, which I will be going into more detail about in a weight gain/loss journey post soon. But for now, here are some little things that I've been doing to be healthier.

Blogs I read every day

Shot from the street

I only recently discovered Lizzy's blog and YouTube but I absolutely fell in love with her style because she is so effortlessly stylish and also a really relaxed person who is easy to relate to. My favourite posts she does are probably her week in film, where she posts the photos she took on an actual film camera. I think it's such a lovely idea because blogs tend to be so glossy and perfect these days so it's nice to see some moments that were just quickly captured. She also recently did an interview with her mum about her experience with gender inequality, which I thought was really amazing and inspiring.

It's no secret that Jaye is one of my favourite people in the world, but that's not the reason I read her blog. Her content is always so inspiring but still real at the same time. She posts about life as a creative and freelancer, good places to get coffee and food in London (you're starting to understand why I love her right about now), beauty bits and sometimes just her general life through photo diaries. I think the best way to describe her blog is that it's as if your best friend was writing a magazine just for you.

Oh the infamous Vix... if you don't know about her blog then where have you been? She's not only the queen of list posts but also the person who will always tell it exactly how it is. I would describe her as a relationship and dating blogger but she throws some other stuff in there too sometimes because let's face it, life isn't just about boys! I don't recommend drinking hot beverages while reading her posts because you will most likely chuckle and either spit them out or choke.

Being a German in England

Having lived in England for about five years now, I've basically become British, but when I first came to this rainy country there were quite a few things that annoyed/confused me. Some of these are just stupid little things that I simply wasn't used to and some are slightly bigger, but I thought it would be fun to write a post about them.

1. Holding open doors at school. I don't know if this was a private school thing, but if you saw a teacher/prefect/anyone higher in the door opening hierarchy across the quad, you had to stay and hold open the door for them. Even if it meant awkwardly standing in said door for a minute. In contrast, at my school in Germany the teachers had to physically push through the students in the morning to get to the door.

2. Efficiency. You don't really appreciate German efficiency properly until you've lived somewhere else for a while. 

3. Informality. This was actually weird at first because when I was at boarding school our interactions with the teachers were very formal and we'd call them 'Sir' or 'Miss', which I wasn't used to. However once I left college and went to uni and started working, I realised that British people are actually a lot more informal than Germans. I would never say 'hey guys, you alright?' to people I don't know in Germany, yet it seems quite common here to do it in shops, etc. British people also use first names a lot more, whereas in Germany you usually wait until the person says 'by the way you can call me by my first name', which is quite a milestone in your relationship.

4. Drinking. It's funny because Germans seem to have that beer drinking reputation, but Germans actually don't drink that much compared to British people. We definitely don't have the same kind of drinking culture where your local pub is basically your home.

5. Letter boxes. You just don't appear to have them! It baffles me that most houses here just have a hole in the door and the letters just get put through and you find them when you open your front door. In Germany you usually have a letter box that has your name on it and if you go on holiday for two weeks, you probably need to give the key for it to your neighbour so they can take the post out because otherwise it'll overflow.

6. Door handles and toilet seats. They're so much lower in England! I don't know if this is because British people are on average a bit shorter than Germans (or at least I think they are) but every time I come back to Germany now I reach far too low when looking for the door handle and it's very confusing.

7. Bathroom light switches and plug sockets. I remember the horror when I first went into someone's bathroom and couldn't find the light switch- little did I know it was the random piece of string hanging from the ceiling! British people seem to be very scared of being electrocuted in the bathroom because there are no plug sockets to be seen either so you have to dry your hair somewhere else.

8. Driving. It terrifies me a little to think how little you have to do to get a driver's license in England. In Germany you have to do four hours of lessons on the motorway, four hours at night, eight hours on country roads, ten hours of theory lessons, a first aid course and countless more lessons. The thing that baffles me the most is that in England you aren't allowed to go on the motorway until you've passed your test, which makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever and I have friends who are just terrified of motorways because they never learned how to drive on them- I guess that shows how much more Germans love cars and driving!

Things I want to do before leaving Brighton

It's now officially one month until I leave Brighton, and England, for the foreseeable future. In the least seven years Brighton has become my home, it's where I did most of my growing up and where the majority of my friends are, so leaving is going to be incredibly hard especially seeing as I'm not going where I thought I would. There are a few things I want to do before I leave (they're pretty food heavy) so here we go:

Ways to improve a rented home

Ah, renting. What a joy. There's nothing I love more than yellow walls and single glazing that costs more than a kidney on the black market. Okay I'm not sure where I was going with that, but you get the point- renting can suck. Obviously you can rent beautiful places and you can get really lucky, but the reality for most of us will be something like what I described above. Obviously the changes that you can make to a rented home are often extremely minimal (if they weren't I sure as hell wouldn't have yellow walls!), but there are a few things you can do to make it feel more like home.

Keeping your wardrobe edited

The biggest problem I have with decluttering is that somehow the clutter always seems to find me again after a short while. I declutter my closet, get rid of lots of things and then use that as an excuse to buy new clothes and before I know it I'm back where I started. This isn't just frustrating, it's also really bloody expensive, so I've devised a system to beat this habit!

Things I've learned in my 22 years on this planet

1. You can't please everyone
2. Travelling alone is an incredibly scary but rewarding experience
3. Always back up your files

Taking time to reset

Sometimes life just gets so crazy, you get caught up in all the things you need to do and sort of lose all those habits and routines you worked so hard to get. I know this definitely happened to me over the last few months because I was finishing my master's degree and am now looking for jobs, all while working on an extremely irregular schedule. It has certainly taken its toll on me, my skincare routine has become non-existent, my flat is a mess and I've gained weight, so I decided to use my six day trip to Germany to reset and get back to the old me.

Rediscovering the Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade

If I could only have three makeup items, I would definitely choose a concealer, mascara and a brow product. Brows are one of the most important parts of my makeup routine because they completely change my face, so I'm always on the lookout for the perfect brow product!

Save it for a rainy day

I don't know what it is about Brighton but as soon as it starts raining, the whole town basically turns into a big lake. This means that having waterproof shoes is a must because let's face it, it rains a lot over here. I do own a pair of Hunter wellies but they're not the most fashionable shoes, so when M&M Direct asked me if I wanted to give the new heeled boots from Hunter a try I obviously couldn't say no!

Oh Hello Stationery Stickers

Today we're talking about stickers- for your planner! Now I know this might seem a little ridiculous to some people, but I have been a part of the planner community for a while now and it's safe to say that I'm addicted. Decorating my planner is a great creative outlet for me, but also helps me to actually do the things that I've written in!
Oh Hello Stationery were actually the first shop I ever bought from back when I first got into decorating my Filofax. I was already following Kayla's blog and her Plan With Me videos inspired me to start planning with stickers! The thing I love about Oh Hello is that they don't have the same clip art that every other shop has, because they design their stickers themselves (which you can actually see in Alex's Design With Me videos!). The quality of their stickers is always fantastic, especially now that they've changed to a new sticker paper which is amazing. Seriously, I never thought I'd be getting so excited about sticker paper!
Right, enough babbling- let's talk about the stickers I got! Alex and Kayla kindly agreed to send me some things from their shop, so here they are. First, I got the little flags in the February and March monthly colours. I love using these to mark things in my spread, so I will definitely be using these up! I also got a sheet of their little music notes, because I use them to mark anything relating to Show Choir rehearsals and gigs. Now the thing I was the most excited about is this sheet of cancelled stickers. So far I only have ones that say cancelled, but I really wanted these because they say fun things like 'not today' 'nope' and 'Netflix won'. Let's face it, Netflix wins so often I could probably use an entire sheet of those! Last but not least is the little sampler that comes free with your order. It changes every once in a while and this one is obviously Valentine's day themed and I love it! The Oh Hello Stationery Co and the little flowers are also stickers so you can mark your sticker delivery or when you have to order new ones in your planner.
Last I wanted to talk about the Oh Hello customer service, because I think it's what really sets them apart from other shops. I'm a part of their facebook group, which is such a lovely community and they regularly ask what they could be doing better and what things people want to see. If there is ever a problem with your order they fix it immediately, and their response and shipping times are incredible. Sometimes I order something and get the shipping notification on the same day! They recently started their own website (which you can find here) where they sell washi tape, stickers and lots of other planner accessories. It's slightly cheaper than etsy because there are no fees for them, but they're still also on Etsy if you prefer to shop there.
If you're into decorating your planner or you're just starting now, I would definitely recommend checking out Oh Hello because they have a lot of great, fun stickers and the quality is always amazing! If you use this link to sign up to the website you get $5 off your first purchase, so happy shopping!

The Pinterest Declutter

Since I am currently on a bit of a purging and decluttering trip, I decided to take the time to actually declutter my Pinterest boards... sounds crazy, I know. I decided to do this because I actually spend a lot of time on Pinterest and having 30 different boards with random themes was just getting quite overwhelming to me and I just wasn't inspired anymore! The fact that my flat was cold and I didn't want to get out of bed to declutter my actual wardrobe may have had something to do with it too...

Becoming a morning person- my experience and tips

I have always admired people who can get up at 5am, do yoga and eat their perfect granola and berries in their perfect bed with white sheets... Can you tell I've been spending a lot of time on Instagram recently? While most people's morning routine obviously does not look like that, I do admire people who can wake up super early and be productive. I've never been a morning person, I will happily sleep until midday every day. Unfortunately when I do that I'm really sluggish for the rest of the day, and even if I do get some work done, sleeping in just wastes so much time. So recently I've been trying to wake up earlier, and it's surprisingly not as hard as I thought! Today I thought I'd share some tips with you in case you're trying to be a morning person too.

Figure out how long you need to sleep
This was a major thing for me. We're always told that you need at least eight hours of sleep and I used to think that I was one of those people who needs at least ten hours of sleep to function normally. However over the past few weeks when I've been revising and didn't have to be up at a certain time, I found that I actually naturally wake up after about six hours, and that's when I feel the most refreshed. Before I always made the mistake of going back to sleep, because I could and I thought I needed more sleep, and then I would feel sluggish later and couldn't get out of bed. Now I just get up whenever I naturally wake up (although I do have an alarm set for 8am in case that doesn't happen).

Resist the snooze
Ah snoozing. When I was growing up, my mum would wake me up in the morning but then I would be allowed to 'mutschel' (it's a Cleve word, don't ask) until she'd prepared breakfast, so even my mum basically has a snooze function! The problem with snoozing is that it just makes you more tired, so just turn off the snoozing function on your alarm. Do it now, I'll wait.

Get. Out. Of. Bed.
Waking up early has been so much easier for me since I've had my own place, because when I was still living with other people I would get up, make coffee and then get back into bed with my coffee. Not exactly helpful! Now when I wake up I immediately get up, go to the kitchen and make myself some breakfast and then sit on the sofa in the living room. Even though I'm basically going from sitting in one comfy place to the next, I find that the simple act of getting out of bed really helps me wake up.

Water before coffee
I love coffee, I don't know what to do without it. But I find that in the morning, water wakes me up so much more. I tend to have a glass of water with one of those fizzy vitamin C things in them (I don't know what they're called but seriously I haven't gotten a cold since I started doing this) and then have coffee after I finished that.

I know none of these tips are exactly ground breaking, but they really helped me become more of a morning person! Let me know if you have any other tips!

The Style Overhaul- Asos Wish list

As promised, here's my wish list that goes along with my recent style overhaul post! I was mainly looking for simple, monochrome staple pieces that can be worn with everything and I found some real gems!

I love this piece because it's such a nice twist on a simple tshirt. It could make any simple jeans and tshirt outfit look more expensive, or I think it would even look great paired with a great pant suit for job interviews!

I already own this sweater in navy and it really is the perfect comfy piece. While it's really comfortable, I think it can also easily be dressed up with some heels, so it's extremely versatile!

Striped things are such a fashion blogger staple piece, so need I say more? I love the boat neck cut on this particular one because I think it's really flattering and looks super chic.

While I love flowy skirts and think they suit me best, they're just not an option in Brighton 360 days of the year unless you want an awkward Marilyn Monroe moment, so A-line skirts are the perfect compromise for me because they're not super form fitting, but they don't blow up!

This may seem like an odd piece to go with all the other simple and classic things I've picked, but I love a good denim dress because you can just throw it on and look stylish or layer it up in the winter!

Finally I obviously had to mention some sort of accessory. I absolutely love my Michael Kors watch but I'd love a slightly more understated option and Daniel Wellington watches are just absolutely gorgeous and look so classic!

Do you like any of these pieces? What's on your wish list right now?

The Style Overhaul- Inspiration

2016 will be the year when I transition from student life to becoming an actual adult with a full time job (touch wood!), so it is about time that I gave my wardrobe a little overhaul and made everything a little more grown up. I wanted to streamline things a little bit anyway because my wardrobe is overflowing with things I never wear, and I figured that now is the time to start investing in some nicer pieces that will be around for longer. I also thought that it would be better to start building a slightly more professional wardrobe now, so I won't have to suddenly buy lots of new clothes when I start a job next autumn.
I'm a very visual person, so the first thing I did was create a Pinterest board with images of outfits I liked. I was quite picky with this so I only used pictures of entire outfits that I was drawn to rather than choosing some photos simply because of one item. This way, the board perfectly sums up what I want my style to be like. After pinning a few things it quickly became apparent that my preferred style is quite casual and monochrome with fancier shoes and bags. It also showed that I definitely need to invest in a camel coat, because that was something that repeatedly came up in photos I had pinned!
Obviously I had a look at a few YouTubers and bloggers as well. I always love Sammi's style and I think it has become a lot more grown up recently, so while it's too fashiony (is that a word?) for me personally, I do always draw inspiration from her outfits. I've also fallen in love with Mel Soldera on YouTube because she's a business woman and her style is extremely close to what I want mine to be like!
After looking at all my inspiration, I went through my wardrobe and got rid of a few things that didn't quite fit the aesthetic I wanted. I also considered a tip that my friend Jaye told me about, which she applies when she's shopping for new clothes- if you can't think of three outfits you can wear with a certain item, then don't buy it. I went through my closet and asked myself if I could put together three outfits for each item, and that's when a few things got thrown out! 
The next step was to create a wishlist of some items that I want to add to my wardrobe, which is probably the funnest part! I will be sharing the wishlist in my next post, so stay tuned for that!

New Year's Resolutions

Oh hello there... It's me again! You probably don't remember me, I've been gone for a while. I'll spare you the lengthy excuses and just say that life has been pretty manic with my Master's degree and a part time job, so I haven't felt like I could run this blog properly. However in the new year I want to start blogging again! I won't put any pressure on myself to post super regularly and I want to do a lot more life related posts about being at uni, staying organised and soon trying to find a job and moving back to Germany... it's going to be an exciting year! So what better way to start than with my resolutions? Here we go!

Get a distinction in my degree
I didn't do so well in my undergraduate degree because I wasn't really enjoying it (and Psychology is hard), but I'm really enjoying my current degree and want to do well in it, so my main goal for this year is to get a distinction!

Read more
I am so terrible at reading because when I come back from uni I don't want to engage my brain, I just want to watch reruns of Friends all evening... I've had Lord of the rings (which my sister bought me) lying around unread since last Christmas...Oopsies! I also got a new Kindle for Christmas so I don't have any excuses anymore and I'm going to try to dedicate half an hour before bed to reading.

Save 10% of what I earn
Since I'm going to graduate this year and (hopefully) start a job after the summer, I really want to get into the habit of saving 10% of what I earn. Now I don't earn much at my part time job, but starting to always put some of my money aside will be a good habit to have once I actually earn a decent salary and can start to build up my savings.

Improve my time management
I'm one of those people who is terrible at managing their time... I have a lot on and I'm always extremely stressed, even though with better time management I could easily get everything done! I want to start making use of all the time I have and be less stressed while still accomplishing everything I need to.

Become a morning person
Everyone who has met me knows that I am not a morning person at all- I would happily sleep until 12pm every day if I could (and sometimes I do...). Unfortunately with my time at university slowly coming to an end I'm going to have to face the harsh reality that most jobs do not start at 12pm and I'm going to have to get up quite early. This also goes along with the time management resolution, because I'm currently wasting quite a few hours in the morning by either sleeping or being grumpy about not sleeping. I will definitely be blogging about how this endeavour goes!

What are your resolutions for 2016?