Friday, 27 May 2016

Fifteen first year university realisations #UNICHATS

1) Having an unlimited minutes phone contract is SUCH a blessing when homesick (aka always)
2) My love for cats has grown x10, I guess absence really does make the heart grow fonder
3) Living kinda close but kinda far from a supermarket and being too stubborn to spend money on taxi's has improved my shoulder and arm strength to no end! I am the queen of carrying overflowing, food stuffed tote bags
4) I am not one to easily put up with a messy/dirty kitchen like some *glares at flatmates* other students
5) I have eaten surprisingly less pasta than expected when cooking for myself
6) InDesign is actually really fun ?? 
7) Assignment briefs can quite literally be the most 'brief' description in the world but with a whole lotta expectations. A definite learning curve. 
9) Train tickets are crazily and unjustifiably overpriced and I have the worst luck when it comes to delayed and cancelled journeys. Le Sigh.
10) A positive quote and print in your uni room plus an abundance of home and friends photos never ever go a miss
11) Supermarket fruit and veg is so damn expensive!!!
12) The North is a very rainy, chilly place
13) The walls of uni halls are FAR too thin when your next door neighbour insists on playing J Beibz 'What Do You Mean' on repeat. The Worst.
14) Wearing every single pair of underwear and socks you own until doing a wash in the overpriced laundry room is standard practice
15) My love for fashion has increased x10 since studying it, I have all the hopes for a successful, happy and enjoyable second year! 

Monday, 23 May 2016


After enjoying filming and editing my first Brighton vlog so much I decided to give the whole YT thing another go and get to work with a weekly vlog! I'm really into the whole video thing and although it's only my second vid I feel like I really know what sort of videos I want to be making and the style I hope to make them in which feels really good! I've been watching YouTube videos for about 6 years now ( how ???? ) so I've deffo got a good idea of the style of vid I enjoy watching and the things I like vs don't like; I'm hoping this puts me in a really good position to create content I love as well as being enjoyable for others too. Anyway enough rambling, let me know if you watch the vlog and please share your thoughts (good and bad!) either here or in the YT comments; constructive criticism completely welcomed! I hope everyone is having a fabulous Monday! 

Friday, 20 May 2016


When it comes to interiors I am utterly OB-SESSED with finding the cutest additions to my room to make for the most personal, comfortable and 'me' space possible. After not having the best time at university during first year and having all the loneliness feels, I've been a teeny bit determined to make second year the best experience possible and one thing that's super important to me is the space I'll be living. I'm moving into a house share in September and by some strange turn of events I've gone from having a tiny attic room to the biggest and brightest bedroom in the house? An odd transformation but one I'm pleased about nonetheless! To help make my space as homely, comfortable and productive as possible I've been planning and Pinterest pinning galore to help spark inspo for the ultimate home away from actual home bedroom. When the gorgeous girl boss that is Becky from DaintyDaisyDesigns contacted me about sending over some goodies from her shop I was thrilled about having some down right beaut other additions to add to my room in September!

DaintyDaisy is an online store run solely by Becky (all the props to this gal) and includes such a range of adorable, well made and designed products that I wish I could own all of *adds to imaginary shopping basket*. Art prints are some of my favourite products, especially for making a bedroom feel more personal and homely and so I've taken to browsing Etsy and Pinterest non stop lately searching for the ultimate inspo. Buying from Paperchase and Urban Outfitters home department will always deliver in terms of aesthetic but supporting smaller, independent businesses is so (!!) important and in a lot of cases far more satisfying when you have a room filled with goodies not as many others have! As well as the gorge art prints I can't seem to shut up about (sorry 'bout it), DaintyDaisy also stocks pocket mirrors (shown above in allllll their cuteness), notebooks, desk planners and stickers too! Let me know if you purchase anything from Becky's store; I'd love to know what your fave items are! I'm all heart eyes for the desk planner ....... watch this space .........

Becky's Twitter: Shop TwitterPersonal Twitter

Monday, 16 May 2016

My current skincare must haves:

My skin has always been one of my biggest insecurities and so in my time with ALLLL the skincare woes, I have tried my fair share of products. I know in many cases, overloading your skin with different cleansers, serums and oils can only make the problems worse so I've consciously tried to maintain a solid routine whilst changing up products to find any sort of skincare solution. I've also been taking the pill (dinette) for around a year now which aims to clear up acne too but alas that has only made my skin worse over time. I've stripped back my routine to cleanse, tone, moisturise/day cream with the addition of occasional face masks or direct spot treatment. Here are my four current faves that (touch wood) have been working wonders for my skin recently. 

Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel:
I have put off this purchase for SO long down to the out-of-student-budget price tag but whilst browsing BeautyBay and adding to my imaginary shopping basket, the £5 off discount made me add it to be real life basket in a fluster of excitement. I've seen almost every blogger under the sun mention how fab this product was and oh hey they were right. The cleanser claims to be illuminating and ideal for almost every skin type, gently removing make up or impurities from the skin. I've never used a gel cleanser like this before and it feels so indulgent and relaxing to cleanse your skin this way as the product literally melts into your skin. The website lists an abundance of benefits from using this cleanser and I would have to agree with them all; the cleansing gel is P E R F for my oily skin, leaving it clean, mattified and glowing! I cannot recommend this cleanser enough for anyone struggling with their skin. 

La Roche-Posay Serozinc toner:
Again another product I love using! I saw this used along with the Oskia cleansing gel over on Kate La Vie's YT channel and absolutely adore the combination. The spray means of distributing the product onto the skin is so easy, quick and for someone who sometimes CBA with their skincare routine, is the best toner for any lazy peeps like me. It's specifically designed for those with oily or blemish prone skin (me all over) and I find it mattifies the skin whilst still leaving it glowy and clean. It feels light under make up and I definitely notice a difference in the way my foundation looks after using this product! 

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser:
Despite this product taking a back seat behind my the Oskia gel, I wanted to give it a mention anyway as it has definitely been clearing up my skin in the past. This is the first product I have tried from First Aid Beauty and has opened the door to a whole world of other products I *need* plus the gorgeous colour palette of the packaging (important, duh). This cleanser is the perfect gentle product to remove dirt and impurities from the skin and I definitely found to calm redness over time. It is advertised as fragrance free however I definitely notice a scent when applying this product (weird???) however again is described as suitable for sensitive skin! I love this product for when my skin needs a deeper cleanser however because it is a foaming cleanser it can have a tendency to be slightly drying on my skin and therefore might not be the best for every day use if you have oily skin. 

Urban Veda Purifying Day Cream:
Urban Veda is not a brand I had come across until earlier this year when I was lucky enough to be given some freebies after helping out at fashion week. The brand is all natural which gets a thumbs up from me and has really helped with the way my make up looks and feels on the skin, especially after a long period of time. I've never used a day cream before but I love the way this product (again) mattifies my skin and reduces the appearance of my ginormous (sigh) pores. The scent of the cream is fairly heavy with tea tree and spearmint being the most obvious notes but this has never irritated my skin and actually seems to have calmed it and reduced redness! What a life saver tea tree is, eh? Definitely one to go for if you're also battling oily skin! 

Let me know if you have any skincare must haves in your routine and if there's any I should keep on my radar! 


Tuesday, 10 May 2016


Hello there! I finished my first year at university last week which is not only crazy in terms of how fast the time has gone, but also left me itching to share my experience of studying fashion. I’m planning a couple of other more general university posts sharing my thoughts on leaving home, living in halls and the do’s and don’ts I’ve learnt along the way but I also wanted to do a very specific post focusing on what I study. In case anyone doesn’t follow me on Twitter then you may not know but I have been studying Fashion Communication and Promotion at the University of Huddersfield as a first year student! I’m hoping to make this post a general overview of studying a creative course related to fashion however in some aspects it will specifically apply to the university I attend in terms of modules etc as this is the experience I have had! At the end of this post I’m going to share which other universities I looked around or applied to in case you’re considering a similar course and want to have a browse around at open days or online! Apologies in advance for the length of this post but I’m going to be aiming for something that’s as informative as possible; applying and deciding on a course for university can be SO daunting so I hope this is somewhat helpful!

Why did I choose the course?
When deciding on the course you wish to study for 3 years at university, the whole process can be stressful, from ensuring the subject itself is right for you to narrowing down university choices to just 5 options on UCAS. I have always been an avid blog reader, YouTube watcher and all round fashion lover so realising this was a subject I could actually study academically as well as enjoy in my spare time was super exciting! Despite this, I found the process of narrowing down courses quite the challenge. I knew I wanted to work more on the commercial side of fashion rather than design, which is so often what most universities offer. I’m a very creative person but have never been very talented in the way of drawing or textiles and so design was never something I wanted to do. The easiest way to explain the contents of my course is that I’m learning about all the processes that happen to clothing and in the industry after the garments have been designed and produced. In first year we’ve looked at PR, marketing, styling and working with photographers, trend research and fashion writing and journalism. The course is SO varied which was one of the reasons I applied for Huddersfield as my first choice; I’m not entirely sure which part of the fashion industry I want to go into after graduation but I deffo feel like the range of topics I’ve been studying will open up so many options because of knowledge I will acquire in a range of areas! Also this course offers a one-year placement working in the industry which was the real deal breaker! Having experience in the fashion world is SO vital so this was the main reason I chose Hudds!

My options were fairly limited when it came to actually narrowing down courses I was able to apply for; I didn't want to complete an art foundation year which is what SO many courses of this type require, even if there is no aspect of design or textiles! This was a really frustrating part of UCAS application as I was limited to the 4 or 5 universities linked at the end of this post. I found I couldn't be fussy with location, accommodation or what the town had to offer in terms of shops or pretty instagramable brunch locations (essential). Perhaps why I haven't be quite so happy is because of not feeling like my qualifications and needs of a university course met any of the options available. I desperately wanted to do a year in industry, not be too far from home and in a place I felt comfortable AND not do an art foundation. I might have made things hard for myself but what I'm trying to say is you probably need to be aware that compromise is going to be something you most likely have to do when university applying. 

Creating a portfolio:
Someone just asked me on Twitter to add in a little section about my portfolio so here ya go!  At Huddersfield we were just asked to bring along any work we thought was relevant and thought would link to the course/show our interest in it as well as any general creative work. I brought an A3 folder with some final prints of my A level photography work in which my (now) tutor seemed to really like; I think it impressed her that I had a lot of Photoshop experimentation in there including some portraits with flower overlays I had played around as well as general fashion-y images that had gone towards my AS levels. I also made some A3 boards on Photoshop with some info on my blog, personal facts and interests and some screenshots of my Instagram/photographs from my blog. I think this was the main thing she really liked because I had obviously spent a lot of time collecting information and putting it all together in a pretty way and she could see I was enthusiastic about studying there. 

I know a lot of fashion courses require work from an art foundation/art A level which I didn't have but if you study photography or graphic design work from those subjects would definitely be appropriate. We only spent about 5 minutes going over my work and the rest of the interview was questions and a general chat so if you're applying for a similar course I wouldn't stress as much about a portfolio like you might do for very creative subjects like art!

The modules involved:
As I said I’m hoping to make this post as general as possible when discussing studying fashion but of course modules will vary between universities! These are the modules I have been studying at Huddersfield and in some cases probably will overlap with other courses but be aware a lot of the uni’s I looked at differ in terms of content! I studied 5 modules during my first year:
-Fashion promotion (+ digital promotion)
-Fashion writing
-Fashion industry
-Fashion marketing
-Fashion history and contemporary context

I’m going to go a little into some of the assignments involved in each module so you can get a more specific and detailed idea of what each involves; I think my favourites have been fashion promotion and fashion writing!

-Fashion promotion: This module also has a digital aspect which I’ve loved (I’m fully obsessed with InDesign, such fun) as well as the traditional PR section. In digital promotion we’ve worked on developing our own window display design using Google Sketch Up as part of a live brief with Kolocraft and New Look and have also put together a range of design and research boards as part of this, learning about visual merchandising and promotion. As part of the same collaboration we created, we were tasked with creating an event plan for the launch of our created collaboration discussing the concept behind it, an event timeline and detailed media list of relevant journalists/press that are relevant for the event! As part of this I used InDesign to create a press pack and invitation to house the information and present it in a way that was in line with the collaboration theme and ‘look’ of the brand.

In first term we created a promotional booklet for an up-and-coming new designer and were taught about using InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. In general, I felt the sessions we had on the programmes were fairly short and so I’ve been spending a lot of time this term working things out for myself, googling tutorials and overall experimenting. It’s so helpful if you already have experience with Adobe but of course not essential.

Fashion writing: I’ve absolutely loved this module! In first term we wrote an essay titled “How has the fashion media changed in the last decade and how is it continuing to change? What affect do these changes have on the power of the fashion media?” which I loved researching and writing and ended up getting 90/100! I ran a poll on Twitter with some questions for primary research and had so much positive feedback about my questions and how interesting the topic was so it was a really great first assignment for university! This term we worked on a collection of fashion writing examples in which we had to research a variety of publications and work on writing pieces for each that were appropriate for the audience of the magazine and the style they are written in. The types of pieces we had to write included a blog post, a men’s and women’s feature article, newspaper piece, runway review and an editor’s letter! I really loved this assignment because we had the freedom to put together the pieces on InDesign and design them in the way that they would appear should they be in the magazine irl. Just for reference in case this is of interest to anyone, the essay word count was 1500 and the writing examples totalled to 2500.

Fashion industry: This has been the most varied module for sure and was probably the most challenging. We have worked on compiling fabric files with swatches of about 50 fabrics plus detailed descriptions of each. We also had a project collaborating with first year photography students on a styling photoshoot in which we had to source models, clothing, props and create a concept for the shoot as well as mood and styling boards. We have had to create and regularly add to critical journals which document ‘A year in Fashion’ through newspapers, online content, exhibition visits we had been to and our own independent work. Last week we presented a topic from our critical journals to the rest of the course which wasn’t really my favourite assignment as im not the best with public speaking; I spoke on fashion and social change and am crossing my fingers it went okay! We also had a presentation during term 1 after we had tracked a specific trend through consumer press, trend intelligence specialists and trade publications which was equally as nerve wracking but turned out well in the end!

Fashion marketing: Despite being very apprehensive about this module having never studied marketing before, I have really enjoyed the work for it! We began the module in term 2 and were briefed on a group assignment in which we had to create our own brand in competition to Topshop and create a business plan/report for it. We had 6 weeks of lectures before being left to write the report in groups discussing its marketing mix, store location and reasoning, store layout, the type of product we would sell, prices, quality and parts of our brand that would make us stand out in comparison to competitors. This assignment was a total of 3000 words and I overall found writing collaboratively and creating a brand with extensive rationale and reasoning behind decision making really enjoyable!

Fashion history and contemporary context: The final module I have studied was joined by students from all other fashion courses at the university including fashion design and marketing and fashion costume making for a really varied range of people. Our first assignment involved listening to a different speaker and topic each week and uploading blog posts with our thoughts, own research and images over 5/6 weeks which I enjoyed as the work was spaced out weekly and a blog was a really fun way to document our ideas. We have also written an essay for this module which was a choice of 6 questions and finally put together a group project around the concept or adornment and body modification, asking if the body can be used as a language. Our group presented ours as a magazine which was again really fun in terms of layout and digital presentation!

Negatives or aspects of the course I haven’t enjoyed:
-As with any course, group work can always be stressful when it comes to organsing different roles and getting a fair contribution from each member. This is definitely something I have struggled with, particularly when working with individuals from other fashion courses as we have different timetables, deadlines and assignments. Although it’s nice to mix with others and get a different fashion perspective, I found it really challenging to work with people who weren’t committed or organised. This isn’t really specific to my course but definitely something to be aware of if you’re a perfectionist like me; it’s been challenging working with others who care a lot less about grades and the outcome of work. In some ways it’s been helpful in me emerging as a ‘leader’ of the group and trying to organise work but in general it was stressful and something I hope will be different in second year!

-I have also found when studying fashion that my university tutors did make some assumptions about our knowledge of certain topics or general skills, particularly when it came to digital work. Having never studied fashion academically I found it tricky being thrown in at the deep end with an expectation of knowing how to complete a range of tasks, but again, it has been useful in developing my independence and learning to push myself.

Despite the challenges of first year, I’ve found studying Fashion Communication and Promotion overall REALLY enjoyable! I’ve struggled a lot with university life in general however that has mainly been linked to moving away/making friends etc which I’m thinking of doing another post on! My course has been one stable aspect of my life since moving away and even though ive not overly enjoyed first year, I am really looking forward to getting my grades back and starting the challenges of fashion in second year. If you have any other questions about my course etc then feel free to tweet me @charl0ttesweb or email me on!

Other universities I looked at:
Nottingham Trent
Manchester Metropolitan
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