Just Add Glitter ✨

Halloween is one of my favourite times of year.

The theatre nerd in me rejoices when I have an excuse to make a costume and dress up.

As a child, my mum made me some incredible costumes. She’s very handy with a needle and thread and she has an eye for detail so I always wore great outfits for guising.

I do remember being devastated one year because I was dressed as a flower and forgot as I dooked for apples that my great face paint would be ruined. I avoided paint as much as I could after that and instead went for masks or hats where I could. Lesson learned.

This year, using little more than a headband, cellotape and some cotton wool, I constructed the most magnificent unicorn horn.

With a net curtain and some ribbon for a tail and enough glitter and Revolution eyeshadow to catch every light, my majestic outfit was good to go.

I am Trick or Treating round the wards at the Sick Kids hospital on Monday and was ready to go as a witch, but may have to resurrect my magical horn (which sounds way dirtier than I intended… apologies) and stick more silver stars to my cheeks in the spirit of Halloween. What a shame 😉

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Weight Off My Mind

I am 5’6". I have mid-length, dark brown hair. An average nose. Eyes that aren’t any one colour.

The dimples that grace my cheeks when I smile are so pronounced people can’t help but tell me I have them (which has never made much sense to me, but I’ve always enjoyed how much joy they give other people).

When I was a teenager, an elderly woman stopped me in the street to tell me I had lovely long legs I should be proud of (which also confused me because I didn’t plan for them to be that length, it just kind of happened.) Nevertheless it put a spring in my step and I thanked her for the compliment.

The day I realised I’d outgrown my B-cup bra was an exultant day, indeed.

My boyfriend is the first to tell me I have a great butt and he peppers conversations with compliments, truly boosting my ego massively.

Grandparents are also great at compliments: mine are no exception.

I adore the body positivity movement. The idea that society now praises lumps, bumps, size, shape and colour really fills my heart with pride. I get so much satisfaction seeing others happy in their own skin.

But I am currently not happy in mine.

I love my shape. It is soft and feminine and it silhouettes beautifully. But I, like so many others, have major hang ups.

My belly upsets me the most. It sets my shape off balance and makes dressing very difficult at times from the belly button down.

Food is not my friend in this instance. Partly because food is my best friend. I am a stress eater. A comfort eater. A binge eater. A “let’s celebrate with cake” eater. Food has always been there for me, whatever the occasion. This has, over time, and with little exercise to combat the intake, resulted in a part of me that causes many shed tears and the foulest moods.

I champion people all over the world who are embracing their bodies. I admire and envy those who can accept that their bodies are not perfect by society’s unattainable standards, but love theirs anyway. The people who work hard to get their bodies the way they want – they impress me greatly.

I just am not there yet.

I am not comfortable in my bodycon dresses now. I cry if my jeans are too tight. I feel gross when I sit on my bed and feel my stomach rolls. Shopping for trousers and skirts fills me with dread. When my stomach touches my thigh I immediately put clothes on to build a barrier.

The biggest problem, though, is my lack of urgency to change anything. Therein lies the ugliest, most frustrating contradiction of all. I am unhappy with how I look, but I am doing next to nothing to change it.

I dance once a week, practice yoga halfheartedly every so often and maybe walk for 2 hours a week if I’m lucky. I did cut back on unhealthy foods, only to binge and undo what little work I had managed.

It’s a constant tug-of-war between satisfying my perfectionist tendencies and fear of not achieving my potential in every aspect of the life (the struggle is real) and my apathy to my situation.

I am overweight. I am unhealthy. I am unhappy. Those things need to change.

Body positivity and self acceptance are hugely important. Self love and care create such a healthy mindset and breed positivity and happiness elsewhere. It makes sense.

I started writing this post having just stood on the scales and measuring at my heaviest weight yet. I initially was trying to find myself a path to follow that would lead to accepting myself, but I’m now realising that I won’t accept until I start committing to making a positive change.

While my weight is the issue, I know it’s my lifestyle that needs to change. It’s a hard change to make for someone who thrives on habitual living, but some habits really need breaking. I guess I’ll just have to ensure I make more of a conscious effort and watch this space for improvement.

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Grief is like the ocean

Today is a very emotional and difficult day for me. It marks the fifth year since I lost one of my best friends in a car accident.

We had so many hilarious and special moments together in the short time we knew each other and I was devastated when he was gone.

It took me an incredibly long time to process and come to terms with his death. I carried that wound heavily on my heart for the longest time.

5 years on and it’s my first time being home for his anniversary. I went to visit him. He’s been left beautiful, colourful flowers. I always leave yellow flowers because they remind me of his sunshine smile and bright light.

I surprised myself today.

I’ve felt sad. I’ve felt a little lost. But I’ve also felt at peace.

I realised I’ve come to terms with the loss. I’ve accepted that all the tears and screams and pleading in the world won’t bring him back. But accepting doesn’t mean forgetting. Moving on doesn’t mean leaving behind. It just means I can think of him and not be left breathless by the pain in my chest.

Today is an immeasurably sad day. It’s a day I always dread because it means more time has passed without him. But today I am determined to think on happy memories and laugh at the silly times we had.

I’ll think of the pair of us singing Bon Jovi as we drove around town, I’ll laugh at the memory of him pretending to friends I was a French girl he’d taken home from holiday, and I’ll never forget his huffing and puffing at me for stealing his ice cream after telling him I was full.

I’ll maybe cry a little because the good memories still hurt, but I’ll not let myself be sad for too long. He deserves my happy thoughts and I owe it to him to carry on regardless.

I’ll always carry him with me, he’s a part of me I cherish dearly.

I love you Cal, always.

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Life Update

It’s been a while, so I’m back with a wee life update.

Signed my new contract today, they’re stuck with me until the end of October!

Over the past 10 weeks I have learned more about the inner workings of digital and social media planning than I could ever have comprehended existing. My fountain of near-useless knowledge shows no signs of drying up because I’m continually reading articles about the future of social media, how businesses can monopolise Facebook, Twitter trends and the history of Snapchat (did you know it was originally called Peekaboo, which is the reason behind the wee ghost? Neither did I).

10 days I’ve been left in charge of the department and I didn’t break anything except a pen I stood on. The social world continued on, none the wiser to my internal panic and flapping that one wrong Enter could bring Facebook to a halt. It didn’t happen. We’re all good.

People actually asked for my help with digital things. I was the go-to gal in the office. That was exciting. And terrifying. And exhilarating when I knew the answer.

The next 10 weeks are shaping up to be full of exciting new things including campaign launches, daily tweeting as anthropomorphic cans and a fair amount of time debating hashtags and emojis. And that’s when I’m not converting people to the world of PokemonGo for “research”.

The highlight so far though? Getting 2 phone-calls in a week from the lovely people at Facebook. Being able to sit in meetings and say the sentence:

Well while I was on the phone with Facebook I asked them and they agreed with my assumption that we can go ahead and it should be a success.

People regard you as knowledgeable and well-connected when you are at a level of phone-call friendship with Facebook.

What’s that, adulting? I’m owning you? You bet your ass I am!

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Mastering the art of crossing that stage without falling over

Sometime between 11am and 1pm today I was donked on the head with a bonnet symbolising my freedom from the enslavement of education. I was then handed a certificate and scroll and there marked the official end to my undergraduate degree.

Amy Charlotte King: MA Hons Linguistics.

Holy cats.

A few short months ago I wasn’t sure I would be walking across that stage, focussing intently on ensuring one foot did in fact go in front of the other so as not to end up on my backside in front of hundreds of people.

A few short weeks ago I never would have dreamed that my face would be splitting in two with a wide smile and a tear in my eye.

A few short hours ago I did both those things. My name was called, I crossed that stage and with that I gained my degree from the University of Edinburgh.

Again: holy cats.

I couldn’t have done it without the most amazing support network of family, friends and university staff. If I was to list them all I’d be typing well into the night, but I am so very thankful to have had their support, advice, shoulders to cry on and shot glasses to fill next to mine.

To continue the good news, my manager told me on Friday that I have had my contract extended for a further 3 months probation!

All the celebrating will be happening, but not right now. The excitement has gotten to me, as has standing for multiple photographs and the most delicious seafood platter from Fishers in the City (highly recommended) so for now I think I’ll go for a nap. Because now that I’m a graduate I decide my own future, right?

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Graduating: Why a Desmond isn’t so dismal

I got my graduation classification today. I am graduating with a 2:2. Second Class: Lower Division. Also known as a Desmond.

At first, I’ll admit I was gutted. I still am a little upset. I have worked myself ill at times throughout my degree, and worked despite being ill, and at first glance it all seems for nought.

A 2:2 is regarded as a less than desirable degree classification. I get it. It doesn’t seem that great. But, and it took me a long time and a lot of people telling me it for me to really believe, it’s not the end of the world.

In my third year at university I struggled a lot. I found the jump from pre-honours to honours huge. It was hard to keep up with the workload. My mental health suffered a lot. It wasn’t the first time I’d been bad at something (thank you, Higher Maths, for preparing me for this moment) but it was the first time I’d struggled so much and felt so helpless to stopping it.

I got better, my grades went up, I started getting high Bs and As. I was happy. I was healthy. Unfortunately it didn’t last and I got ill again. I had reached out for help and received little in the way of constructive advice, so I was on my own again. But I wasn’t. I have the most incredible friends, family and flatmates that anyone could ask for, who made sure I got through it. I got a 2:1 for my dissertation. I handed in every piece of coursework. I finished uni.

See, that’s something that I didn’t realise at first was so important. I actually finished four years of a university degree. I was in two minds about returning for 4th year. I didn’t see the point because my grades were so varied in third year. I focussed on the classes I did badly in, not my successes.

I finished uni.

I am graduating. I’ll have a degree behind me, regardless of the classification. I stuck it out for 4 years despite wanting to throw in the towel so many times. I did it. I actually did it.

I finished uni.

So I’m not going to wallow in self-pity about my average grade. My grades range drastically – a 30% difference from highest to lowest. My enjoyment of university has ranged just as drastically. But my dad always stressed one thing from the very beginning:

You don’t go to university for the certificate on your graduation day.

Sure, getting your degree is great and will open lots of doors and give you a major leg up when it comes to finding a job and hopefully you learned something. But, more importantly, university is about growing up. It’s about living in a strange city with strange people doing strange things for four years.

It’s about going out. Getting drunk. Having fun. Spending too much money. Exploring new places. Having cups of tea at four in the morning. Making the most of your student discount. Debating politics at the dinner table. Ordering more Dominos pizzas in a week than a person should eat in a lifetime. Never learning to leave your card at home when you’re going to a bar or club. Getting too drunk to get into The Hive. Being too sober to contemplate going into The Hive. Library hysteria at 1am in a pod on the ground floor with your friends. Deep meaningful conversations with strangers in club toilets. Sitting in lectures with your drunk friend who’s braless and muttering insults about your lecturer while she draws cartoon pictures of you and being very proud of her artwork. Living with the same girls for four years and walking into a flat that feels like home.

Going to university isn’t about learning a degree subject. It’s about learning who you are. Who you can be. Who you are yet to become.

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Hi I’m Amy, the new Digital Intern and no, I don’t really know what that means either

I am just home from my first day at my internship and have collapsed onto my bed to write this.

Jeeeez I’m tired. And I didn’t start til midday! The offices were moving floors so I stayed out of the way until the dust settled.

I was given my own desk, had my laptop set up to the company’s network and have been given tasks, to-do lists, meetings and deadlines already. I’M SO EXCITED.

My bosses are amazingly patient and kind and funny. The company seems to be filled with bubbly, creative, engaging people and I honestly can’t wait to get to know them all a bit better.

So, what am I doing? Well, that is yet to be determined, really. I have been introduced as the Digital Intern and I know I’m part of the Planning Department. The main remit for my internship is helping to manage the social media profiles for some pretty big Scottish brands. (I haven’t exactly asked my bosses yet if it’s okay to write this blog. I’ll do that tomorrow. More deets to follow…hopefully.) As one of my bosses told a co-worker “We’ll figure out a fancy title at the end of the internship”. So yeah, I’m a digital-social-planning intern who may well be loaned to other departments, should they need the extra pair of hands.

My desk is next to a massive window that lets the sun flood in. I look out onto the Water of Leith and now feel like a proper grown up (even with my see-through pencil case that is bulging with pens, pencils and an assortment of necessary stationery).

Most of today was spent getting to grips with the different campaign strategies for the accounts I’m working on, and touring the offices shaking hands with at least forty people and that didn’t even cover every floor. There are around eighty members of staff in the company. How I’ll remember everyone’s names is beyond me.

The more I hear about the upcoming projects I’ll be a part of and the work I already have to be getting on with, the more excited I get about being a part of the planning team.

Tomorrow the real work starts. I can’t bloody wait.

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Sidenote: Remember the palava I talked about regarding workwear? I ended up wearing my new black slacks, new patent loafers, a wee lilac blouse and a black cardigan. Very smart, very comfortable. And, as it happens, very overdressed. Almost everyone I saw was in jeans. Some wore trainers. Some wore t-shirts. Some dressed up a little. There was not one suit in sight. Thank goodness I didn’t end up buying 4 worksuits on Saturday! So, the dress code stress was completely unnecessary and I am going to be smart but casual comfortable. Couldn’t be happier. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some jeans to look out for tomorrow.

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Dress Code Stress

With my first day at my internship just around the corner, I realised I have very few office-appropriate clothes to wear. This is slightly problematic, considering I’ll be working in an office. So I went shopping (any excuse, right?)

There are many things to consider when dressing for work. Practicality, warmth, comfort, level of smartness, durability, crumple factor (a real problem with many of my tops), layering ability (another struggle I have – so many of my tops don’t sit right with cardigans or jumpers but I get grumpy if I’m chilly so an optional second layer is often necessary, especially if I don’t know the temperature of the office) and yawn-stretch-belly-reveal avoidance (you have no idea). I stood in front of my wardrobe and tried to conjure up as many outfit combinations as possible, but was drawing a blank because I wasn’t entirely sure what look I was going for.

I realised I had to determine what vibe the office gave off clothes-wise. Being an advertising company, I had initially assumed that just about anything would go, but then remembered that clients meet in the offices and people need to not look like they forgot to change out of their loungewear of a morning. After some deliberation, I decided on smart-casual. I didn’t see a single power suit or many pairs of stiletto heels while I was in the office – granted my interviewers were men – but I was pretty confident from their shirts and slacks combos that I could probably get away with a comfy but smart ensemble. Whatever that meant.

I have a number of smartish tops already, so I’m not so worried about my top half, it’s my bottom half that concerns me. My usual outfit choices are skirts that are definitely not office friendly or jeans, which I’m not sure are quite smart enough.  

With ‘smasual’ in mind, I hit the shops. There lay my second problem: deciding what could be classed as smart-casual. There is a fine line to be walked between looking like you’re going into a meeting and entering a Netflix marathon, at least in my case. I know things can be dressed up or down with the right jewellery and I have plenty of jewellery to accessorise a small army, but are jumpers with a statement necklace or pearls really okay? What about a white shirt, does that look too much like I’m channeling my inner Blair Waldorf sans school skirt and frilly ankle socks? Stress.

Black trousers are a staple but in the eight shops I searched, only 2 had any appropriate trousers, and only one shop stocked said appropriate trousers in my size. Thankfully, I bought one pair of standard slim leg black trouser suit pants to start off my wardrobe.

I found some funky print trousers in Zara but none in my size; and the same thing happened in Mango and H&M, so I guess after posting this I’ll be doing some internet shopping…

I got fairly lucky in the shoe department. A quick zoom around Schuh found me a smart pair of black patent loafers that will be easy to throw on and are work-appropriate without having to worry about heels. I am the reincarnation of Bambi on the frozen lake when heels are in play. I really struggle for more than an hour in anything higher than 2 inches. It’s a pain, but these loafers seem a good compromise.

Now I’m wondering whether jeans might be acceptable in the office. My plan is to wear a dress on my first day – it’s my lucky go-to dress that is smart and funky and fills me with confidence, especially when paired with red lippy and my new loafers – so I can suss out the outfit choices of the other females in the office and base my later wardrobe pairings on what I see.

My buy of the day though was a stationery haul in Paperchase. I am a stationery addict. Pens, sticky notes, funky note cards, pencil cases – I want them all. I bought myself a new pencil case because every school year should start with a new case and I filled it with two patterned pens, three functional pens, two pencils, a rubber and a packet of sticky notes for marking pages should I ever need to do such a thing.

So, while shopping was largely unsuccessful in that I only came away with 2 items of clothing, I do feel more prepared with my pencil case packed and ready to go in my handbag, along with my new notebooks I picked up the other month and have been filling with notes on clients and positive reminders that we got this to get me through my first week. Also, my lack of success at shopping this time round only means I get to give it another go next week when I’m more clued up on office dress code etiquette.

To continue my adulthood prep, tonight I am planning on being very grown up: I’ll sit with a magazine, play Sex and the City in the background, apply a facemask and paint my nails with a glass of wine and some sushi for dinner. While I haven’t conquered coffee-drinking yet, I reckon I’m making a good start as I plunge into the world of adulthood.

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