Anxious About Life After Lockdown

Lockdown is easing in the UK and things are slowly going back to normal…well the “new normal”. People are outside in the sun, on beaches, having picnics in the park with their friends and family. Some are social distancing and some are not. Of course, it’s normal to feel angry at those who aren’t following the rules and I’ve had a lot of those angry feelings during these past four months.

All over my social media, I see people enjoying their time outside, not a care in the world. I think to myself, how are people doing it? Have they forgotten that we have been in lockdown for most of this year? How can they just go back to normal?

Mental illness thrives in isolation.

I have been really sticking to the rules of this lockdown. I barely went outside. Four months in lockdown, no work, no social contact other than with my own household – it’s bound to get comfortable. It’s certainly comfortable for my anxiety. Mental illness thrives in isolation.

What is making me upset at the moment is readjusting to life outside of lockdown. I haven’t been on public transport in four months, I haven’t been in an Uber in four months. I haven’t been shopping (something I love to do) for four months and I haven’t even worked for four months. I haven’t even stepped outside of the house by myself, without a household member. My anxiety is all over the place at the moment due to the thought of doing those things again.

It’s easy for some. I know lots of people who haven’t really followed the government guidelines so readjusting to life outside of lockdown is no problem for them.

But for those of us who have stuck to the rules but also have concerns about lockdown being lifted, it’s very tough to suddenly start seeing people again and being social. I’ve been safe at home all this time and now after a long time, we are allowed to do normal stuff again.

I’m scared and worried about the new normal and how we all need to change the way we behave in public.

It’s scary for me. The thought of going outside, by myself, even to the park is making me feel anxious. I’m scared of the virus, I’m scared of a second spike. I hate that it’s something that is out of my control. I’m scared and worried about the new normal and how we all need to change the way we behave in public. Change is terrifying.

So spare of thought for those of us who are struggling with the thought of lockdown being lifted. For those of us who haven’t been working for four months, for those who have lost their jobs and back on the job hunt again – it’s going to take a bit longer for us to get used to all this.

I recognise that I need to do this at my own pace and that’s okay.

Don’t rush your friend who might not be feeling up to going to that BBQ or that family member who might not be ready to go into a different family household. For me, I think I’ll be okay if I start slowly, avoiding big crowds at first such as on public transport. I need to start easing myself in slowly by taking a walk locally. I recognise that I need to do this at my own pace and that’s okay.

Things have dramatically changed for everyone in the world and it has affected some more than others but that’s okay. Listen to them, don’t minimise their feelings and let them do things at their own pace. It’s going to be okay. After all, we are all in this together, right?

This is me

These are some photos of myself, reflecting that life can be amazing and peaceful. I have always described myself as horrible, fat and disgusting. But people describe me as gentle, funny, strong and endearing and maybe I am. Maybe I need to believe that. Photography can tell a story, and these photos reflect what I really am and what I’ve been through.

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Photo credit: Larisa Dizdar 

How did I get into the BBC?

Many people are interested in how I got to where I am today, career wise, so it is about time I reveal all. Especially because it is now exactly one year that I have been holding down a job at the BBC – so it seems rather relevant to be writing this now (as I have been thinking about writing something on this for months!).

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I don’t even know where to start to be honest. Many people ask me, how on earth did I manage to get into the BBC so very quickly at a very young age. Fresh out of university at the age of 21 and I get my first ever paid job on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, which was literally a dream come true – considering the Today programme was one of my dream programme’s to work for.

But, lets rewind back to university. I was an undergraduate at City University London from 2011 – 2014. Being on a media/journalism based course, we were encouraged to take on as many work experience placements in the media as we can. Now, back in 2013, I wrote a piece on ‘Is work experience worth it?’ and ‘How to find work experience placements and internships’ – so do have a read.

Half way through my first year, I luckily got accepted on a month work experience at BBC Radio 4. Since then, I made contacts and shadowed BBC Radio’s 1, 2 and 6 Music. Bearing in mind, my passion back then was radio.

I kept seeking for more work experience. I didn’t mind if it was unpaid – I just wanted to get as much experience as I can so that it can benefit me after I leave university. Month after month, I emailed radio stations and production companies asking for work experience. Long story short, that same year, I did work experience at Absolute Radio, Whistledown Productions for BBC Radio, Channel 4 and LBC. Not just that, I also got involved with the media team at uni. I took part in student radio and also became one of the editors of the university magazine.

During uni, I also had my own radio show at London’s youth station Roundhouse Radio, from the Roundhouse venue itself. The station matched me with a professional mentor to help me with my university to career transition (bearing in mind this was now my final year at uni) and luckily my mentor was from the Today programme – which I was honestly over the moon about. Big shout out to Steven (you know who you are, I wouldn’t be where I am today without his help!!).

Whilst being in the midst of writing my dissertation, I was also preparing for life after university. I was so terrified of being unemployed. I hear a lot of stories about people graduating and then failing to find a job. I was rather lucky to have a mentor, who did help me with my CV and covering letters and also recommended people I should speak to and most importantly reassured me that I have enough experience to get a job and not to worry.

One thing I mustn’t forget is getting my CV professionally done. Trust me, it is so worth it. I have never been so proud of my CV until I got it done by a rather amazing company so I do highly recommend it.

My mentor recommended I speak to someone at the Today programme so I sent my CV and a covering letter in an email. I got a reply back saying to come and have a chat with them and I was offered a two week trial period – which was basically shadowing someone for two weeks and then see where I go from there. I trained and after two weeks, I got myself a two month contract with the Today programme as a Broadcast Assistant, mainly handling Today’s website and social media. Of course, waking up at 4am every morning was incredibly difficult but I really didn’t mind, considering I was being made to wake up to work on a programme that I love.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 20.41.48After the Today programme, I went straight onto work for BBC News Online, for the Digital Video team (which I still do) and became a Broadcast Journalist (my current title). Then lots of other opportunities came up as I approached some of my favourite programmes including The Andrew Marr Show and Daily & Sunday Politics (current programmes I work for). As my background is within online, I look after their website and social media presence.

One of my highlights of working for the BBC is playing a huge role for BBC’s coverage of the 2015 General Election. During the campaign leading up to polling day, I covered a lot for BBC Politics (online) and worked closely with the Daily Politics debates. I was a Results Inputter on results night/day, inputting the results which went straight on-air.

At work, I have met the most amazing people/colleagues. I met rather big people including Prime Minister David Cameron and lots of others. Never thought things like that would happen to me.

This is not a 9-5 job. Some days I am up at 4am for a 6am start. Sometimes I start around 2pm and finish at midnight. Sometimes I am even working overnight. It is not easy and it is not structured, but I honestly wouldn’t change it for the world.

Without knowing the right people and getting as much experience as I could beforehand, I wouldn’t have been able to get those jobs. Contacts is key in this industry. You will get rejected. I was rejected many time before I got into the BBC but I persevered. I never gave up because this was my dream. This is my dream. I am determined to do more, experience more, learn more – so this is the beginning of an amazing journey. 
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My Perfect Winter Outfit

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1. Winter Coat – As I mentioned in my Winter Essentials post, a good Winter coat is an essential.

2. Midi Dress – I have been wearing a lot of Midi dresses recently and I think those types of dresses are great for Winter. They are rather long so great for that extra bit of modesty.

3. Gloves – You always need a pair of Gloves during the season.

4. Scarf/Shawl – I would add a nice polka dot shawl or a ‘snood’ to this outfit.

5. Wedged Boots – I never used to like heels as much but recently, I have been gravitating towards wedges, especially Mary Jane wedges. Not too high though! I feel like a pair of suede wedged boots is great for Winter.

6. Structured Bag – I make sure I always look smart and I feel like the bag you wear says a lot about your personality. A nice structured ‘doctors’ bag is really up my street and I find that to be the best bag for university/work.

7. Essie Nail Polish in ‘Shearing Darling‘ – I love this Nail polish. Very Wintery.

8. NARS ‘Shanghai Empress’ Semi Matte Lipstick – An outfit will not be complete without a nice dark red lipstick. This NARS one is perfect for Winter.

Beauty Review: Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant

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I have been using Dermalogica products for over a year now because they specifically cater for sensitive acne-prone skin and work very well on my skin. I usually make my own exfoliating mask with honey and salt (see post here) however, I felt like my pores were getting quite large and I just wanted something new to try out and so I felt like buying a really good exfoliating product.

Obviously, I have to really research into a product before I buy it because my skin is very sensitive and because Dermalogica products work really well on my skin without breaking me out, I automatically gravitated towards their website and discovered the Gentle Cream Exfoliant.

So, because Dermalogica are a high-end brand, I decided to buy the travel size version of the product. I would however, recommend going to a Dermalogica counter yourself and getting a free sample (Liberty London in Regent/Carnaby Street have one) but in my case, I took the lazy option and decided to purchase the travel size product.

On their website, it says “Dramatically improve skin texture with this two-in-one masque/exfoliation treatment. Non-abrasive formula contains Lactic Acid and Hydroxy Acid to help detach dead skin cells, increasing cell renewal while improving texture for dramatically smooth skin. Formulated without artificial fragrances and colours.” 

I was quite wary of the fact that it is a chemical exfoliant because of the nature of my skin but because it said it was non-abrasive, I decided to give it a go.

The formula is a rather light and thin consistency almost moisture-like but when you apply it, it becomes very dry on the skin. I lather it onto my face, mainly concentrating on minimising those pores and I then leave it for 15 minutes. I then wash it off with warm water.

I have used it twice now and straight away after I have washed it off, my face feels rather smooth, the pores becomes dramatically smaller and it seems to kill those dead skin cells, which is the result I was looking for! It did not break me out one bit, so it is definitely a good product for those who have sensitive skin. You really notice the difference straight away.

The product is £37.90. I know it is very expensive and probably not worth it but if it does the trick, then why not buy it? Also, you only need to use it once or twice a week so therefore, the product will last you quite a long time.

*This is not a sponsored review.*

My Perfect Autumn Outfit

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Autumn is my favourite season, especially because I think Autumn fashion is amazing. Everything you see above is my perfect Autumn outfit and yes, they are all black and black is favourite colour to wear in the colder months. In Autumn, smart is the way to go for me.

A long-sleeve Drop-Waist Dress is a new style of dress I introduced to my wardrobe recently. I love the fit of this kind of dress and for some reason, it feels like something that I should wear in the Autumn. These dresses are quite popular at the moment.

I would pair this dress with a pair of leather look leggings or trousers. I chose leather just to give it more edgier look.

I usually wear a nice shawl over my dresses, so with this outfit, I would wear a nice black shawl over it.

In Autumn, I cannot live without a nice structured Mac or a Trench coat because it is quite light which is perfect for Autumn as it is not that cold; not cold enough for a wool coat anyway.  I recently purchased this Mac above from Miss Selfridge and I absolutely love it. Very flattering and it looks like a dress which is a bonus.

For footwear, I would wear my usual suede Wallabees. I just think it goes well with this outfit.

And finally, because I would usually wear this outfit to university, I would team it with a structured smart satchel, large enough to fit in my work. This one above is the  Office City Bag from Zara, which is not in stock at the moment due to the fact that it is old season now I think. However, they do have a similar one out at the moment but with zips and more larger. You can find it here. I absolutely love structured business/office bags like this.

And there we have it. My idea of a perfect Autumn outfit.

London 2012 Olympics – One Year On

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This weekend marks the one year anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic Games and more than two-thirds of the UK public think that it was well worth the £8.77bn that was spent on it. But what have we learnt from the games and did it leave a legacy?

Indeed, a legacy has been left. For me, I believe we etched ‘London’ into people’s ears as a praised city. ‘Well done for putting on a wonderful event.” is often said to us Londoners all the time since the games.

In a sense, it brought us all closer together and not just Londoners. The games brought the whole of the United Kingdom closer together. We all learnt to help our community and do more for it. We learnt to not let dreams stay as dreams. Seeing the successes of our very own Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, Bradley Wiggins etc… it taught us to never give up on our dream, whatever that dream may be.

It also taught us not be a cynic and have faith in our city. I can hold my hands up to that. Before the Olympics, being the usual Londoner that I am, I thought the Olympics would go belly-up. I never thought we would have left that much of a legacy but we have and it is amazing.

It helped the local economy in more ways than we ever thought. It made young people to take up sport instead of staying on the streets. It did give us a meaning and we are all just thriving in the legacy because London has never been the same since.

On a personal level, I believe it has done wonders to the local area. Growing up here, I have seen it all ever since I was young. From a drudgery part of East London, quite a disadvantaged, working-class area, I have seen it become a wonderful and stunning touristy area in just 7 years.

When it was in the making, our community was so excited yet nervous because of our expectation of the Olympic Park and the surrounding area was very high indeed and thankfully it met our expectations and one year on, East London is still glowing and the legacy of the Olympic Games is shining through.