Six Things Sunday

Sunday 4 October 2015

Well, what a hectic week. Not going to lie, every night I have got in from work I just eaten anything I can find, maybe caught some TV with a cup of tea and crawled in to bed ready for another round of retail craziness. I haven't had a huge amount of time to look more in to setting up a website and blog, but plans start on my next day off. I still want to keep blogging and writing posts until that is all sorted though. Staring a new job is always a challenge and I am definitely enjoying this one, but juggling two part time jobs at once is something else. Can I go on a holiday yet? But, it is do-able and to be honest I don't really mind how busy I am at the moment because it keeps my mind ticking over and when I get a spare moment to paint my nails, enjoy a cup of tea or watch a bit of the Bake Off or Gogglebox I fully appreciate that time to myself. I am currently sat typing away frantically before I fall asleep on top of laptop before another day at work. So, over the past week here is what I have enjoyed, found positive or simply want to share with my little group of readers. What did you get up to this week?

I have always been someone who enjoys the simple little things in life. Like they say "simple things please simple minds" (is that right?). Those who know me know how excited I can get over the simplest of things like pretty Paperchase wrapping paper, nail varnish, a new drink at Starbucks or a blooming pretty coloured front door or an old building, but this week I have been really enjoying just the little, simple things to see me through a day. 
I've been enjoying my hour commute to work where I can indulge in my latest read of The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. I've enjoyed a breakfast date with myself at Starbucks before my stores official launch and a lovely Pumpskin Spiced Latte after a hectic Saturday because I felt all Autumn-y. I've been enjoying how Autumn like the weather is getting with foggy, chilly mornings and lighting candles on a cold night whilst I enjoy a good old cup of tea and a pamper season using my sample of the Lush Cup O' Coffee Exfoliating Mask, which smells and and works wonders on the skin. I've also been enjoying countryside runs (yes, I finally made it on two runs) and walks with my Mum and dog. 

I know this was on another STS a while back but, like I said, I would be meeting a lot of new people over the coming weeks and I have met so many new people this week. Lovely and supportive people I am working with and lovely customers. I do love to chat to anyone that comes through the shop door, you get to meet such a variety of people who generally like to talk to you as well. I get so carried away talking to some customers it really does make time fly.
I met a lovely blogger this week called Hannah who blogs over on Hannah Spannah, who was so bubbly and chatty. It was nice to speak to another blogger and get some tips and advice and Hannah wrote up a great write up of the new store which you can read on the blog

It is always nice to give someone a smile or a good morning or helping with directions or telling them which bus to get, even if you don't know them (or in my case know the directions or bus they need). The few people who have served me this week have been so nice and generally made me smile. Ok, this is mostly people at Starbucks because that is really the only place I have brought something this week apart from my own place of work. But I don't know what it is about this week and how I have noticed it more, but people in general who I have come across have been really nice, chatty and smiley and it can totally change your day and cheer you up a little. See, enjoying the simple things again!

I know, another one that was on STS a few week back, but I really am just loving this seasons TV offerings. I just feel in total Autumn mode now and I am so glad it is nearly time to dust of my Hocus Pocus DVD in time for Halloween. The Great British Bake Off is still the best thing ever until The Apprentice returns in a couple of weeks and I am hooked on Doctor Foster on BBC1 and Gogglebox is once again the highlight of my Fridays. I've strangely been enjoying some period drama recently, I watched Lady Chatterleys Lover on BBC1 after seeing a snippet on Gogglebox, which I mainly watched for the fact that Richard Madden from Game of Thrones was in it and because of the beautiful costumes. I've also watched some of Cider With Rose, which I didn't understand so probably need to watch again.

Seeing all the gorgeous colours in shop windows gets me very excited for fashion this season. You've got the seventies trend, the folk trend and everyone is mixing textures. Since I have worked in retail on and off for years this season has always been my favourite, I much prefer dark, warmer colours so love this time of year when they hit the shops and fill magazine pages. I think from now on every time a new delivery arrives at work will feel like Christmas with goodness knows what goodies lie waiting in the boxes ready for me to get all excited over. Cosy jumpers, oversized knits, blanket scarfs and some classic Chelsea boots need to be stocked in my wardrobe over the next few weeks as it begins to get colder. 

Slowly, very slowly, I have been catching up with all the goings on of the New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks. I am still behind but what I have seen so far of next years fashion trends are very exciting, I see colour and pattern everywhere. You can follow what I am pinning on to my Spring Summer 2016 Colour and Print boards on Pinterest. I hope to compile I few trend edits soon to start working from for designs.

- Speak soon, Lisa Jayne X

Monthly Favourites // September

Wednesday 30 September 2015

Can you believe it is the end of September already? No? Well, me neither. And to mark the end of the month in true blogging tradition I bring you my monthly favourites. I know I started the blog in August and didn't do an August Favourites, but thats because I didn't have anything put together then so ... be prepared, this is a long list!
Some of these products I have been enjoying the use of for months and some I have only been using since the end of August but pretty much use everyday. Do you have any of these products? If so, let me know what you think about them or if you recommend any great products.
September has been quite a busy month for me and I don't plan on stopping come October, juggling retail work and freelancing along with my own projects. If you haven't read my last post (Six Things Sunday) then you wouldn't know I am actually in the process of planning on setting up my own little website / blog, where I can combine my textile work and the content you find here on This Haven together. I'm taking my time with choosing the right look and approach to blending the two blogs, but hope to have it launched as soon as possible so there won't be a "new look" for this blog but I will continue to post until the website launches so please hang around and have a read. 

1. Joules // Wensley Scarf in Antique Gold Bloom
I have been wearing this scarf non stop because it goes with most of the outfits I put together for work. I tend to wear it with my Oxford Semi Fitted Shirt in Chalk to give the shirt some colour or I layer the shirt with my Harbour Striped Jersey Top in French Navy and through the scarf on top. The scarf adds colour and sophistication to most outfits. The colours are great for the Autumn season right through to Winter as Mustard is an on trend colour. It's an long line woven scarf so can be worn in a variety of ways but I just tend to through it on and off I go.
Buy the scarf here.

2. Clarins // Gentle Refiner Exfoliating Cream with Microbeads
I cannot rave about this product enough. This exfoliator sums up why I love Clarins so much, it leaves your skin feeling fresh, soft and smooth. Plus, it smells amazing and you don't need to use a huge amount to work in to your skin for great results. Since using this exfoliator 2-3 times a week I see such a difference in my skin, it has lost a lot of the redness I had and now my skin looks more even. With that being said I still have some redness to work on so I do need a consultation with Clarins and to keep drinking more water and eating better. The product can only help your skin so much but it truly is one of the best Clarins products I have tried (and I have tried plenty). This is only a sample I have so I think buying a full sized one is definitely worth the buy because it will last a while due to the fact you don't need to use it every day.
Buy the Exfoliator here.

3. Lush // Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair // Shower Gel
This shower gel smells A-mazing. It leaves your skin feeling smooth and fresh and you don't need a lot of it. Perfect product all round I say! I got this when I attended the Lush event in Nottingham and have been slowly using it since. I try not to use it all the time because I don't want it to run out just yet. I cannot explain the smell but its like heaven in a bottle, if heaven smelled of fresh guava, fig juices, infusions of lavender, jasmine and rose petals with ylang ylang. It is a great product to use if you come in from work and need a pick me up or you've been for a run and just need some balance and restoring.
Buy the shower gel here.

4. IKEA // Sinnlig // Candle
I am quite the candle lover and over the coming weeks plan to extend my candle collection because Autumn is the perfect time to light some candles on a night in to make you feel all cosy. After a recent trip to Ikea, the candle collection got started with this Sinnlig purchase and, lets face it, what trip to Ikea is complete without picking up a candle. As its my only candle at the moment I haven't used it that much as I've been saving it for early, chilled out nights. Some candles give me horrible headaches but this candles lovely fruity, blossom smell is just right and the perfect companion for nights in reading a book or watching TV. 
Buy the candle here.

5. Essie // Nail Varnish in Bordeaux
This nail varnish was on the Autumn Wishlist I did ages ago since it became my colour crush over on my textile blog and, thanks to a good friend, I finally made the purchase! I don't think I have stopped wearing it since I got it, I just love this oxblood red colour. It goes with a lot of my outfits and is a great way to wear one the seasons biggest colour trends if the colour doesn't suit you clothing wise. I have decided, after purchasing many nail varnishes from well known brands and high street clothing stores and being utterly disappointed with how badly they've chipped, that I would rather spend an extra couple of pounds to get an Essie varnish. Being in a hands on job where I'm tearing in to delivery bags and boxes most of them time I have found Essie, over any other brand I have worn to work, has stood the test of time and lasts for days rather than just hours. I am now on the hunt for a gorgeous blue or deep purple to add to the collection and I am dying to invest in Essie's top coat varnish.
Buy the nail varnish here.

6. Essie // Nail Varnish in Fifth Avenue
When I purchased the full sized colour of Bordeaux I also got a smaller sized polish for free in the colour of Fifth Avenue. This colour is a bright red with a tang of orange running through it. It is quite a pop of colour for this season, but a great pick me up for when you want brighter nails on a rainy day. I don't think I will wear this colour all the time because I personally favour darker colours but, again, it last for days and doesn't chip easily.
Buy the nail varnish here.

7. Revlon // Colourburst Matte Balm in Striking
This was another product on my Autumn Wishlist. I have being dying to get it for weeks and weeks and just went for it and brought this when I brought my Essie nail polish. I kept trying this colour on every time I went in to Boots and tested it to see if it was worth the money and the conclusion is it definitely is. It stays on like you wouldn't believe, I apply it in the morning and it survives me eating my breakfast and drinking cups of tea. Sometimes I top it up slightly half way throughout the day but it doesn't always need it because it is so pigmented and has staying power. One thing I have noticed is that you need to look after your lips when using this colour crayon because if you have chapped lips it shows when you apply these deep, pigmented colours. I have been keeping two lip balms by my bedside to apply every night and a lip moisturiser in my bag which I apply on days I do not wear the lip crayon.
I am so impressed by the Revlon colour crayons that I am now thinking of adding another colour to my collection. I have really fallen for lip crayons over the last few months. 
Buy the lip balm here.

8. Benefit // Roller Lash Mascara
I actually got this sample free in a magazine quite early on in the year and started to use it more and more once my Clinque mascara ran out (another sample one. Yeah, I haven't brought a mascara in a good year or two). I wear it every time I put make up on and I love it. I even managed to sell the product to an old lady in Boots the other week who was buying a mascara for her granddaughter (yeah, I couldn't believe I did that either). You don't need to apply to much to your lashes because it begins to make the lashes stick together, but it does lengthen them out. I've never tried a Benefit mascara before and always used cheaper products that I end up hating, so this was a nice change and I think I would probably buy a full sized product once this sample runs out. 
Buy the mascara here.

9. Collection // Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner in Black
After a recommendation from my friend I decided to buy this eye liner after struggling to find the right one for months and scratching my eye out with a stupid pencil one. This eye liner is cheap but does its job pretty well. It is very black and not wishy washy and, best of all, stays on for hours. I'm shockingly bad at putting on eye liner, but with it being a felt tip that glides easily. After a while it gets easier to apply and get the right amount of line thickness to get definition. I'm quite impressed and will probably be buying this product again once it runs out.
Buy the eyeliner here.

- Speak soon, Lisa Jayne X

NOTE: None of this content was sent to me for review. I purchased these products with my own money and am reviewing this with total honesty.

Six Things Sunday

Sunday 27 September 2015

I'm a little under prepared for this weeks post because, I'm not going to lie, I am quite tired and have switched off from blogging. Every night I have got in from work I haven't had the time to write this during the week, so here I am now with a nice cup of tea on a Sunday spending the morning hidden under my duvet. I came to the conclusion this week that I would like to merge my textile and lifestyle blogs together in a more professional looking way but am still figuring out the little details like which platform will I use, how will it look etc. I still want to blog about lifestyle things like book reviews, food, drink and beauty, but want to go back and try to focus on more fashion/trend posts like I used to over on my textile blog. I also need a stronger platform to showcase my work on and have the ideal space to show off new work once I start on my projects. What do you think, good idea? I just feel slightly too much pressure to have a lifestyle blog and, if I am honest, I don't have the time to keep it running the way I would want it because I want to use my spare time for more fashion and textile and design things. But hey, at least I can say I have tried having a lifestyle blog and like I said, it doesn't mean all the topics I write or want to write about will go, they will just be less frequent. Anyway, after a busy week I am sat trying to think of six things I have done or found positive so this is what I can put together on my relaxing morning! What did you get up to this week?

This week was the last week of my training before I am finally in the store I will be working in for the foreseeable. For about two months I have waited for the opening of the new store in Milton Keynes and it is now only three days away. Excited? ... YES! The build up has just got more and more exciting as the weeks have gone by and I have gone from induction to induction and got through about 200 boxes of delivery in the warehouse (thankfully not on my own). It was a a smooth last week of training with myself being trusted to teach others certain procedures and explain visual merchandising traits and standards. I have learnt so much this last week, not just about the brand or the job role, but about myself and how I could approach this new role and make the most of a great opportunity (cheesy I know). 

I absolutely love, love, love to laugh. You know that old man in Mary Poppins who can't come down from the ceiling because he won't stop laughing? I want that to me! Laughter is the best medicine for me and it was nice to be around people this week that made me laugh again and have a random fit of giggles because you're just that happy or something is so funny you can't stop laughing. I can pretty much keep myself entertained and laugh at anything, but its always better to have other people around to have a chuckle with. 

I told myself to not go to Starbucks this week .... but I couldn't help myself. I had to pop in a couple of times because I needed an energy boost or it was slightly chilly on the way to work. Poor excuses maybe but I just cant help myself. I've being enjoying their new Guatemala Antigua Latte, which I hadn't tried before. It's quite strong in terms of caffeine for me personally because I'm not used to it, but it's quite smooth and, all in all, just taste amazing. I love Starbucks ten times more in Autumn, it is such a nice comforter to an early morning start.

I am someone who loves a good quote every now and again to put things, thoughts or life in to perspective. Being a big Pinterest fan can turn you in to a bit of a quote lover because of how many are on there but I have seen a couple of quotes on LinkedIn and Instagram this week that have made sense to me at this moment in my life.

"Playing is the highest form of research" - Albert Einstein

"If you fail, never give up, because F.A.I.L means 'First Attempt In Learning'. 
End is not the end, in fact E.N.D means 'Effort Never Dies'. 
And if you get no as an answer, remember N.O means 'Next Opportunity'" - Unknown

I think a lot of people can relate to how my week has been - work, go home, eat, sleep, repeat! Work can take over sometimes, suffocate and exhaust you leaving you too tired to do anything after work or on your days off. I'm so used to going out and socialising with friends and that is something I don't want to lose as I really enjoy being around people. I love going out for a drink or some food on a Friday or Saturday with people and just have some time to socialise. Instead of my Saturday just being the above routine I decided after work go for drinks and tapas with a few of the girls I had been working with this week. A brilliant end to my working week and the start to my few days off.

First my favourite female artist, Ellie Goulding, releases a new single and now my favourite band, Bastille, have revealed their new single too. The two artists I have been dying to hear new music from have finally heard my calls and given me what I needed in life. Bastille was introduced to me by my friend nearly three years ago and I have been hooked since. Seeing them live on their Bad Blood Tour was an incredible experience that I won't forget. Boy can Dan sing! 
I listen to Bastille when I'm happy, sad, just want to listen to some music or need a pick me up. I listened to their album on repeat during my second year of University and can't wait for a new album to see me through.

Beauty // Birchbox Birthday Box

Wednesday 23 September 2015


Whilst scrawling through my Facebook the other day I came across a Birchbox advertisement for a lucky dip to celebrate their birthday this month. I had heard of Birchbox previously but never really looked it up or thought about subscribing. I decided to take a chance on the lucky dip and it just so happened I was lucky enough to win an offer of 50% off my first box. I thought "why the hell not" and I ordered my Birchbox Birthday Box. I was very excited when it landed at my door and couldn't wait to see what was inside. Some of the brands I had heard of or used before, like Laura Mercier and Benefit, but others, like John Masters Organics and Laqa & Co, I hadn't. 

I'm looking forward to testing out the Laqa & Co. Cheeky Lip Pencil as I'm quite in to lip crayons at the moment and have been wanting to try out some new colours or brands. The one I have is a beautiful rosy pink that will work for me if I use foundation on my lips first as my lips are quite red without lipstick. 
My skin can sometimes get a little oily if I apply too much foundation or powder, so it will be interesting to try out this Benefit POREfessional blotter, which is meant to mattify shine for up to 6 hours. Benefit is a brand I seem to have a growing interest in after being so impressed by their Benefit They're Real Mascara and am hoping to try out more of their products in the future.
Ages ago I wanted to get a Tangle Teezer when they hit the market and became a must-have beauty item, but this Birchbrush is their own version so will be giving that a go on bad hair days. It will be a good companion for the John Masters Organics Detangler, which I am keen to try out now my hair is all freshly cut and I am taking more care of my hair because I am using more heat. The detangler kind of works like a hair mask and needs to be left in for 1-3 minutes or can be used as a leave in conditioner. It will be a good product to use once or twice a week to take care of the mid to ends of your hair. 
Laura Mercier is a brand I have heard non-stop when watching beauty videos or reading beauty blogs so I am interested in the Face Polish and what it can do for my skin as it is a little red and uneven at the moment (must drink more water I know!). This creamy scrub is basically an exfoliator, but a little less rough on the skin. After cleansing the skin, you're meant to work the product in small circular motions to buff away dead skin and rinse with warm water. Hopefully, this will work well with my skin and, who knows, I could be a Laura Mercier fan in the making.
The Bliss Soapy Suds can be used as a shower gel or a bubble bath and is apparently great for cleansing and moisturising the skin. Apparently it has skin-friendly ingredients so I am hoping my skin doesn't have any reactions to this. I think this will be one of those "treat me" items because it is just a sample size after all. 

I loved how the box was designed with birthday balloons and it even came with a guide and a little welcome postcard. Plus, the samples came in a lovely tie bag to store them in until I use them. I'm still unsure whether I want to subscribe every month and so will give these products a go and look through the website more to see if I want to receive a box every month. I don't use that many beauty products or change the brands I shop from because I have sensitive skin and tend to stick to the brands I know and trust, but maybe a subscription means I become more open to brands. I think the website it really organised and it is easy to find the products you're after. I like how they have a description of the product called "Birchbox Breakdown" and how they guide you on how to use the product, alongside having an "Editiors Tip". There are many of these beauty subscription services out there now and since being exposed to Birchbox I have seen others pop up on my Facebook. I've looked through them but, overall, I think Birchbox is a standout company for me because of how the website looks, the interaction they give you on their Facebook page and the vast amount of beauty products and advice they offer you. 

Thank you Birchbox for my first box and HAPPY 5th BIRTHDAY!

- Speak soon, Lisa Jayne X

NOTE: None of this content was sent to me for review. I purchased this box with my own money and am reviewing this with total honesty.

Six Things Sunday

Sunday 20 September 2015

This week as been hectic to say the least, Monday feels like two weeks ago rather than just a few days. I decided to work from my bed with endless cups of tea yesterday morning to read up on blogs, emails and write up on my own blog before heading off for a lunch date with myself. I still haven't had time to fit in a run or a swim this week but with the endless running around I've been doing I am pretty much using up all my energy which, shamefully, has ended up with me falling asleep in train station waiting rooms and crawling in to bed at night ready for another early start. I have a ton of things on my to do list this week including needing to do blog photography for posts, write up posts, freelancing, answer emails, find a new blog layout and book train tickets for next week. I'm just so important! 
There was no post on Friday because I didn't have the time to write one and generally just had nothing to write about. I felt the pressure to find something to post but it would have been a "nothing" post so decided to just leave it and focus on arranging todays one for you. I have lots of little things over the coming weeks I want to post about from beauty, food/drink and maybe more fashion, alongside (hopefully) the refreshing look of the blog. So, again, bare with me because I am still learning and getting myself in to a routine. Where is the time going? Why are the days going so fast? But here are my little positive things that happened or I enjoyed this week. What did you get up to this week?

Since Jess Gylnne came on to the scene I have really grown to like her music and Jess herself. Every song of hers I have listened to I've quite liked, especially "Don't Be So Hard On Yourself" as its a song I can slightly connect with because of the lyrics. I was thinking how I would like to go and see her on tour when my friends, Chris and Matt, said they were going to get tickets and would I like to come as I mentioned going to see her to them. Of course I said yes and now we have the excitement of looking forward to seeing Jess next February at the O2 Academy in Brixton. I am listening to her album "I Cry When I Laugh" a lot at the moment and its such an upbeat, well written album that I'm really enjoying. Are you a fan of hers yourself?

I used to be terrified of meeting new people but when at University you meet new people all the time and I've grown to like meeting new people and getting to know some of them really well and slowly become friends. My new job means lots of training and working with people I have never met before but will work with a lot in the coming months. It's been nice to meet all these new people and quickly make friends, have some laugh out loud moments and work in strong teams to get work done and learn new things. It's always nice when you met certain people and get on well instantly and can bounce of each other. The people I've met have been really friendly, funny and supportive and I'm looking forward to meeting more new people soon as it is constantly happening at the moment. 

Me and my Mum attempted to bake a cake this week and lets just say Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry probably won't be making us Star Bakers! My mum dug out her copy of Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking, which made me want to bake so much I could've opened up my own bakery. I like to follow the book and my mum likes to just through it all in, so together we worked as a team to make the kitchen a mess and act like we were actually on the bake off by trying to be all technical with not getting in too many air bubbles in the mixture and making it all look pretty. Best bit of baking is, of course, licking the bowl because even though you shouldn't it still taste amazing (sometimes more amazing than the actual bake). I think we did ourselves proud with it, maybe it didn't look so much like it did in the book but it did taste pretty great with a nice cup of tea.

Like I mentioned, it has been quite a hectic week with training and working in a warehouse for the last couple of days. I feel like I have done a full body workout at the gym and not slept for ages. As much as I love having a busy life balancing two jobs and a blog, it is always nice every so often to have that bit of time to pamper yourself and have some breathing time. To stay afloat and not feel so suffocated by life I think it is needed and I do feel guilty if I sit down early one night to read my book or a magazine rather than do work, but with a crazy couple of weeks coming up I am trying to make time for these little "me" moments when I can to stay calm and collected.
I decided to book myself in for a hair cut, get an early night with a hot chocolate and do my nails whilst watching some Gogglebox and XFactor this weekend. It was so nice to finally get a haircut with my old hairdresser, she is the only person who knows how to cut my hair and she always makes me feel and look better. Plus, she lets me talk about Kate Middleton as much as I like (I'm a big fan!). I'm still considering dying my hair, which I have been considering for the entire year now, so maybe next time I will get it dyed and chopped!

I've never had a lot of confidence with make up and I generally don't know what I am doing. I know the basics and just roll with it, even if I am not doing it right. When I used to glam up for a night out using my Naked or Dior eye shadow palettes I did worry I looked like a clown because I suck at actually using them so have tried to use them a bit more this week. I have watched countless YouTube tutorials but life didn't bring me gifts in applying make up. My friend Ruth is a genius with make up so I think I need to hire her as my make up assistant. 
I've realised this week that yes, well done me for trying to experiment, but I actually don't like the things I've tried because it doesn't suit me and its "not me" if you get my drift. Maybe I am doing it wrong, I don't know, but I definitely prefer to just keep my make up simple and jazz it up with a lipstick rather than eye shadow. It is lovely to have these gorgeous eye shadow palettes, but I definitely think I am a lipstick girl at heart as I generally know better what suits me and have more confidence to were a bolder colour. Plus, lipstick excites me more! What is your make up go to?

I want to shout to the world my excitement about the fact that my favourite female artist, Ellie Goulding, is FINALLY releasing a new album in November. For two years now I have listened non stop to Halycon Days and seen her live twice.
I have been waiting very patiently for a new album which, in turn, means a new tour and results in my dying desire to must, have, need tickets! Ellie's Haylcon Days album got me through so many ups and downs, it was that one album that sometimes I just had to listen to to get me through a moment or make me feel better so I love the album a lot. To see her tour that album twice in a smaller and arena venue was an incredible experience because my goodness she can put on a show! The new album, Delerium, comes out at the beginning of November so I definitely know what some of my pay check will be going on and, of course, I will go all out and get the deluxe version. I know some people who don't particularly like her music, but anyone who knows me gets how much I love Ellie, not only for her music but her style (the hair is just perfection) and her strong, motivated and cool personality. I am very very excited for this album!

- Speak soon, Lisa Jayne X

Honest University Advice & Tips

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Ok, so I'm not an expert in advice (I actually always say I am better at listening than giving advice) so this post is just me speaking honestly about my experiences and what I know I should have done when I went to University and things I wish people had of told me. There are probably things I have forgotten or should have wrote, despite this post being one I have re-wrote and worked on for many weeks now. But if you are doing a course similar to the one I did or need advice on anything just leave a message and I'll do my best to help. 

Around this time four years ago I was getting ready to leave home to experience three amazing years at Derby University where I studied Textile Design. I was 19 with braces and a complete geek which, ultimately, meant I was terrified. I had lived away from home before so that wasn't the problem and therefore my main concern was not making friends, not excelling in my work and missing out and regretting things. I walked away from University regretting things, but I never missed out because I experienced the moments that I had, wanted or needed to experience in life. I made friends I will hopefully have in my life for a long time and, looking back, I excelled more than I thought I had. I sometimes beat myself up that I could have done better, but don't we all do that? I wanted to go to University since I was quite young so overall I excelled in achieving a dream and graduating in a subject I love.
Looking back now I got to go through University with the best bunch of class and flat mates. As a class we all helped each other, cried with each other, ate our way through tons of cakes/biscuits and, of course, got very drunk with together. We gave each other support when we needed it because throughout the three years we all went through our own individual though / happy times but came together as (I like to think) an amazing group to make even more amazing memories. When I graduated with all my classmates and my flatmate (who did another course to me) I was so proud of everyone and myself included.

So, I hope these six little tips and pieces of advice I picked up along the way on my University Journey helps you if you're going to University this year or helps you make your second or third year amazing!

1. Don't Be Afraid, Everyone Is In The Same Boat! - "Paddle Together"
You may be scared, terrified and feeling worried but these are all natural emotions to feel. You're parents are about to leave you to sort out your room and you know no one. Well, everyone is in the same boat as you so don't be afraid. I was fortunate that I knew my friend Matt who lived in the flat opposite mine and he came to visit me when moving in my stuff so we easily got chatting to other people who we speak to even now. Try and get a conversation going by maybe asking if anyone needs help or asking if they fancy going for a drink once everyone is finished unpacking. When it comes to people on your course you'll start chatting to people without realising you've started talking to them. I met my first Uni friend by chatting to her whilst waiting for a lift. I don't even know what was coming out of my mouth but you do tend to ask the usual questions - "what's you name?", "how old are you?", "where do you come from?". The course you're studying initially brings you together with people you don't know but then you soon find out that you have more things in common, the rest will be history and four years later you'll still speaking. But, this first point leads me on to the second!...

2. Not Everyone Will Get Along - You Can't Be Friends With Everyone
As a flat you may all get along very very well and may continue to live together for the rest of your time at University. But, that isn't always the case and you may not get along with all your flatmates. Everyone comes from different backgrounds so this is mainly where the conflict comes in as experienced by me and many other people I went to Uni with. You may be more in to cleanliness than others, you may know how to cook better or talk better to people in difficult situations. 
Arguments may happen and sometimes they are inevitable. You have an early start and go to bed early but your flatmates come in at 3am making lots of noise ... Well, it will probably happen at some point and will do your freaking head in. The only way I dealt with things like this was to just ignore it. Maybe that is because I don't like confrontation, but I also knew that those situations were to be expected and you'll probably end up coming in loud at 3am sometimes yourself so the shoe is on the other foot. If you find these problems are getting out of hand and become unacceptable (as they do) make sure to go to the halls manager and don't be afraid to do so because they would have dealt with these situations many a times before and handle it in a professional and authority manner.
You can't be friends with everyone because there may be nothing in common with you and another flatmate but my tip is to not take it personally. Everyone is studying different things but just show a little interest in what they are up to every now and again so to make things a little easier for you and the whole flat. Hostility can be hard to live with.

3. Work As A Team - You'll Need It
Working together with your classmates is sometimes key. In my situation we had to bounce off ideas, have project meetings and advice each other, feed each other in desperate times of need near a deadline, do group projects in our contextual studies and, at the end of the year, come together to fundraise for our Degree Show. Not all of us spoke to each other because we didn't have a personal connection with someone and, as we are all girls, sometimes feelings can get too much and we get a little mad at each other. But, despite all this, we all had to and wanted to work together as team to get to the end of each deadline, each year and finally to our Degree Show. 
There will be times in any course where you'll need to work as a team, whether it be a team building project or essay or simply just to help someone who is looking for advice or coursework support. Give it a try because you never know, these people may be looking for a friend in you and it will introduce you to new people and make you more open. Think how you would feel if you wanted someone to talk to or needed coursework support, you would want someone there so maybe think about being there for others.

4. Try And Not Say No To Things - A Good Party Never Hurts! (Unless deadlines are the next day)
I wish I had gone out a lot more but some situations made me quite nervous as I was shy and hadn't really drunk before I went to University, so I wasn't great at socialising (at the beginning). My work was my main priority, which sometimes did slip and I did say yes to a party, but that is ok every so often. "Live a little as you won't get this chance again" ... so my mum used to say. I didn't go to any major parties (which my University called Carnage and I hardly attended Fresher/Leaver Balls) and I wasn't a fan of dressing up in fancy dress but I did love doing my hair, make up and putting on a nice dress. Before I went to University I never went out and much preferred staying at home watching TV or reading a book/magazine and I was still like that when I left home, but I wanted to make sure I tried hard and said Yes! to things rather than shy away. 
Looking back, I had some amazing nights out with some ending with me being a little too drunk or some not ending that well (a lot of cringe / funny moments in my head right now) but that was the fun of trying to live a little and having that University experience. Having a drink and a dance, chatting to new people and making good memories with your friends is sometimes worth giving up a night of work for. 
Come third year me and a few friends knew work was our priority and we would work all week and, as soon as Friday night came, we would get dressed up, head out for cocktails and then on to a club for a dance. It became a tradition and truly was worth giving up one night of work for but making sure we worked hard all week. But, if I'm completely honest, my favourite nights were spent watching movies with my flatmates, drinking and eating ourselves stupid, getting hooked on TV series and crying with endless laughter.

5. You'll Grow Up Before You're Very Eyes - It's An Experience!
I cried, laughed, cried, made mistakes, shouted, made more mistakes and did stupid things when I was at University. I grew up every single year and hated myself for some of the things I did or said but, without trying to ever make excuses for myself, I had to go through those moments to learn and grow to get to the person I am today. But, it is all about letting the bad moments go when you leave University to make room for better moments to come. You may upset people with your mistakes, you may hate yourself and feel very sorry for yourself but, on the other hand, you will probably end up laughing a lot and reflexing on those cringe / bad moments in years to come. 
University is the THE place to grow up. I went when I was 19 and left when I was 22. You go from teenager to adult in this huge life experience which can be overwhelming sometimes but when you look back you can be really proud of yourself for getting through those times. 
First year is all about fun. Second Year is all about balancing fun and studying. And, third year, is all about studying, final exams or hand ins and looking for that Graduate job! It can sometimes be a lot of pressure but that is all part of growing up and you're not the only one experiencing a mixture of feelings and pressure. Talk to you class or flat mates about how you're feeling as they are probably feeling the same way as use and it can be a huge relief to just speak to someone and take the pressure of your mind and shoulders.
I put a lot of pressure on myself which, at the end of my second year, led to me having an panic / anxiety attack making me miss a friends party. I somehow lost so much confidence in my second year which made the start of the third year difficult. I wanted to be perfect in every aspect. I wanted to grow up before I could grow up basically and I waned to be a good friend, good textile designer and an all round good person. Putting myself under all that pressure wasn't easy and certainly wasn't needed. Don't rush projects, modules or revising, take your time and if you need a break then have one. You find your own style of working and just because someone is working until 2am to do work doesn't mean you have to if you think it will effect the next day or your week.
The friends who forgive and forget and make you laugh again are the friends you'll know will stick around and be friends with you for years to come. University is the time to make mistakes and have such a life changing experience. You'll enter each year as one person and leave as another. Easier said than done I know but try not to be so hard on yourself. You'll be ok! Just enjoy being a student before you HAVE to be a grown up as it will go so quickly.

6. Job Or No Job - It's Up To You
Getting a job whilst at University is something that is completely down to you, how you feel and whether you think you can juggle studies and a weekend job. Some people do, some people don't.
Yes it does look good on your CV, but will your studies be neglected? 
I personally think if you get a weekend job whilst studying it is all about being organised and learning to say no to going out or overtime occasionally to get course work done. I didn't have a job whilst in term time, I went home at summer and Christmas breaks to work in my local New Look store to earn some money ready for the next year. Looking back, I do regret this because a year after leaving University I am still trying to work hard to earn money to pay off an overdraft I had to go in to because of how expensive my course and internships were. Most people do come out with an overdraft so don't be ashamed by this, just be pro-active about how you can pay it off. It is something than can be worrying but many banks offer student accounts with overdrafts meaning you have time after graduating to pay them off. Of course, you also have your huge, massive, gigantic loan to pay back the Government, but don't worry about that too much until you're in a job and earning the right amount to pay it back because until then there is nothing you can really do. 
If I had of had a weekend job then that money could have been spare or emergency money or money for after University to get myself a flat. I budgeted each month and year, but was sometimes still quite short of money (as are most students). Yes, I did an expensive course and yes it was demanding on me as I had to be in the studio a lot, but was that really an excuse for not having a job during term time? Well, no maybe not! But that is why I am speaking honestly and saying really think about getting a weekend job to add some pennies in to the bank to make life easier for yourself after University. It is slightly harder now because of how the Government are changing the system with maintenance loans or grants and with higher tuition fees but if you're worrying about money then their is always help or someone to talk to at University. I know many have support systems in place to help and reassure students on money and loans. 

This was quite a cheesy, reflective post I know but I hoped this helped. 

And if anyone is going off to University soon - Good Luck!

Speak soon - Lisa Jayne x

Six Things Sunday

Sunday 13 September 2015

I have been slightly under the weather this week with a cold but tried to be a trooper and carry on working on my freelancing and training as best I can. I don't normally get poorly unless I am run down so have probably been a bit too hard on myself recently. But this post is not the time to chat about that as it is all about the positive things I have done, liked or enjoyed this week ... remember? 
I wanted to do a bit more exercise this week and go for a run or swim but with deadlines, work and having a cold this will have to be delayed until next week as I really miss working out. Plus it gives me time to sort out a proper running playlist (something I have been meaning to do for months). Speaking of music, my day was made on Saturday when a lovely girl approached me on the train as "she just had to talk to me" about Taylor Swift as I was listening (clearly loudly as she heard) to her album and we ended up a have little chit chat about Taylor Swift and her music. I really admired her for approaching me, a total stranger, because she really wanted to have a chat. Many people on trains or buses don't tend to speak to each other now and either stick on their headphones, stuck in a book or are glued to their phones working their way through social media (I am a victim of this) but there have been a few times when I have wanted to approach people about what they are reading or discussing with someone else. So, maybe next time I think about doing this, I should because it could make someones day to have a friendly chat with a stranger. She made a tough day that little bit brighter! 
I'm still working on finding a new look for the blog which I am hoping to sort out ready for a little make over for next month so keep baring with me and enjoying the posts! 
Let me know what you have been up this week and what positive little moments you've had in the comments below.

I still can't believe that three of my designs were sold this week! I cannot share the designs or the company name they sold to online as of yet due to copyright and legal reasons but be sure to hear my screams from the roof tops when/if I can. I hadn't sold anything since March when the first floral design I did got sold to Nike in New York and so I began to lose a lot of confidence in myself as a designer which, when it means so much to you, can be hard because that lack of confidence sometimes stopped me pushing myself or even wanting to design for the fear of sucking at it. As a relatively new designer who is still learning, trying to push my own boundaries and "find my style" to sell three designs in one meeting to a big client was the most amazing feeling, especially when they were all hand drawn and a lot of effort went in to making them the best they could be. I couldn't wait to tell those close to me as they knew how much getting that good news email meant to me. I know this is all cheesy and a bit mushy but after a whirlwind of a year it really was the best news. How will I celebrate you ask? Probably with a either a Starbucks, a new lipstick or maybe a splash out on some new Doc Martins!

Being someone who likes routines and being organised I love making lists, especially if its in a pretty Paperchase notebook. I don't have much of a routine at the moment but I have made a point of getting back to making lists and planning each day rather than constantly thinking of what I have to do and it all swimming around in my head. I work much better when it is all in front of me and I can tick it off.
I decided to make an attempt of making my own budget planner. I know a few people use Excel to budget as you can use formulas that calculate everything, but I am pretty clueless when it comes to the program (and formulas) so made my own one on Photoshop to print out each month and write on. I always tell myself I am going to stick to writing daily or weekly lists and budget plans then slip of the track but this time I not only want to mean it, I have to in order to stay organised and for my little brain to function with so many things going on and things I am wanting to do. Having to do lists will hopefully mean I utilise my days off more too and get a good routine going.

Just like how I say I'm going to stick to making lists, I always say I am going to make more of an effort with my skincare routine. This week I actually have, just with the poor exception of failing to drink more water. Using the Clarins Daily Energizer Collection every morning and night I cleanse, tone and moisturise. And, twice a week, I have been exfoliating using a sample of Clarins Gentle Refiner Exfoliating Cream with Microbeads which leaves your skin feeling soft and free of dirt whilst evening out some redness. I have been using Clarins for my skincare for at least three years now and I rely on the brand so much to keep my skin feeling fresh and healthy. I notice a huge difference when I use a different cleanser or moisturiser from another brand. After using the Daily Energizer Collection for so many years I do think I will look in to using a different Clarins collection soon as my skin is now needing different things. I also use the Body Shop Muslin Cloth every morning which I think makes my skin feel softer and fresher ready for the day and preps your skin better for make up. I can't recommend all of the above enough.

This week I found found myself trying to be more giving and charitable. I saw a lovely man officially campaigning for Cancer Research UK whilst running errands in town so gave him all my spare change and had a little chat. And, in another shop, put my change in the Cancer Research UK bucket. Every little helps!
I also donated a lot of old fashion, textile and art books to the college I studied at which was received with lots of thanks and appreciation. Hopefully they come in handy for all those studying fashion and textiles there just like I did back in the day.
I like doing little bits for charity when I can and it makes me wonder what else I can do. Maybe not another half marathon just yet but it made me think about potentially giving a monthly donation to a charity that is close to my heart. Do you donate to a charity each month?
Plus, I have been trying to comment more on other peoples blog posts I have enjoyed reading and / or related to. It is always nice to know when someone has read your post and enjoyed it or taken something positive from it and feels better. I know a few people I have messaged have appreciated me saying so.

I couldn't resist treating myself to a Starbucks on the way to work the other day. I love it when a new season comes along because I can rely on Starbucks to bring back my favourite drinks or new ones I have to try. They've brought back the Pumpkin Spiced Latte for Autumn which is one of my favourites. It's warm, sweet and just 100% delicious! I'm really keen to try out their Pumpkin Spiced Loaf Cake, so maybe all things Pumpkin is becoming a new thing for me?

For a few years now I tend to say every year "no I am NOT getting in to the X Factor this year, I don't want to get addicted" and I said it this year also which was responded by people giving me shocked looks as if to say "why not, you'll miss out stupid". But I failed ... It happened ... I watched it! Darn you Simon for shaking up the judging panel and also having my only favourite contestant, Olly Murs, as a presenter. I prefer to watch it with people so you can chat about how good or bad people were and have a good laugh at the stupid parts they add in just for entertainment. Good job I like to spend Saturday nights in these days!
The Great British Bake off is my mid-week treat which is getting quite funny due to the mix of characters the contestants are this year. And who doesn't love a slice of Mary, Paul, Mel and Sue? I really need to do some baking!
And now I have one of my favourite TV shows back on the box which brings me such delight. I am, of course, talking about Gogglebox! To watch this with a cheeky pizza on a Friday night was a religion back in Nottingham and one that must continue this year! This programme makes me laugh so much with the crazy characters and banter between them all. I like to analysis and question a lot of the shows I watch too so I enjoy watching others do it. Which one is your TV show this Autumn favourite?

- Speak soon, Lisa Jayne X