FOOT IN THE DOOR #2: Olivia Zacharia

Lifestyle

Hello lovely readers!

Welcome back to the next instalment of ‘Foot in the Door’. Before we get going with today’s interview, I just wanted to take a mo to thank everyone for their kind words after the first FITD post went live. I was completely blown away by the positive response it received. You guys are the best.

Today’s guest is the outrageously talented Olivia Zacharia. I met Liv in 2016 through the University of Surrey’s Musical Theatre Society and we quickly became friends. She was a music student and I studied theatre (Avril Lavigne, Sk8r Boi style) but our common connection was the wonderful world of MT. Fast-forward four years and many creative projects later, Liv is truly thriving in post-uni life so I knew she would be the perfect person to chat to next.

I hope you enjoy!

Hello my lovely Liv! If you could just start off by introducing yourself in a couple of sentences that would be fab. Give us a little bit of background.

Sure! I’m Olivia. 22 years old. I’m a Musical Director [will be referred to as MD throughout] based in Kent and London. I studied Music at the University of Surrey. Currently, I’m a freelance MD, arranger, composer, all of that jazz…

Liv as Musical Director for the University of Surrey’s Musical Theatre Society’s 2019 production of ‘Bring It On: The Musical’

Oh, hello musical theatre pun. Had to sneak that one in there somewhere.

(Laughs) I know, I know.

So, what made you decide to pursue a Music degree?

Without meaning to sound really cliché, when I was 14/15, I knew I wanted to be a Musical Director which is kind of rare. It’s quite a niche job but because I went to a performing arts school, I was introduced to the role. My head was so focused on that that I knew I wanted to do my degree in Music and then go straight into it. It’s always been, ‘Liv the Musician’, that’s what you’re going to do, you know? So it was just always a thing.

Tell me a little bit more about how you discovered the MD role whilst at school.

Yeah, so I went to a performing arts school in Kent and we did a big show every year. They were doing Honk! [musical about the Ugly Duckling] when I was in Year 9/Year 10 and I was asked if I’d play the piano in the pit. I’ve always loved musicals but it was my first introduction into playing for a musical. Through that, I met the Musical Director who was actually a singing teacher at the school and I then became a rehearsal pianist. After that, I started to learn about Assistant MDing and gradually became aware of the MD role. So that was kind of my introduction to it. I just absolutely fell in love with the job.

How did you prepare for post-university life?

It’s hard with musical directing because you rarely see a job come up online. It’s very much about the network you have and who you know. I’ve always been very aware that that’s the situation. I spent most of my time at uni just trying to build up a network of people so that when I left, I felt really comfortable. If I didn’t have something planned, it would definitely feel like ‘what the hell am I doing?’. I just wanted to make sure I had a secure network. I sat in some pits in the West End and then I got the job at BYMT [Assistant Musical Director role] which I actually did find online…surprisingly (laughs).

You say it’s quite difficult to find music-related jobs online but if you were looking, where is the best place?

Genuinely, Twitter. I actually probably could relate every single piece of work I’ve had back to Twitter. More or less. Probably 90%.

That’s so interesting. I feel as if most people still don’t realise that Twitter can be utilised in terms of finding jobs and connecting with other creatives.

Yeah, absolutely! I remember being introduced to the #OVConnect which is actually where I found my agent. Loads of audition pianist jobs get put on Twitter because they’re usually needed quite last minute, if someone has dropped out. I’ve got a contract next year and I only got that because someone tagged me in a tweet. It’s crazy. Twitter is the one for me.

For the readers who might not know, could you briefly explain what #OVConnect is?

Yeah, sure. It stands for Old Vic Connect and it’s basically a hashtag that The Old Vic [theatre] set up to help new creatives meet each other. If you search the hashtag, it’s usually people saying “Hi I’m XXX and I do XXX. Look at my website here: XXX. Looking to connect with: XXX”. It’s a good way to put yourself out there as a new creative.

As a Theatre grad, I understand the importance of networking in order to secure jobs. How would you go about making those connections?

I mean, it is the sole way in. You’ve kind of gotta be a bit of a people person, which is hard. Everyone suffers with Imposter Syndrome when they’re networking but I think you just need to always say yes. The best way to connect is to find your favourite shows or people whose work you really like. Just message them and ask to go for a coffee. I think you need to make it clear that you’re interested in their work, not them getting you work. “I’m a new grad and I want a job from you,” tends to be less successful. The best way is honestly just emailing people, messaging them on social media seeing if they want to meet up.

Image taken by Eleanor Dickens

Is that how you managed to get some of your work in the West End pits?

Yeah! It was really weird. Here’s a little story-time…

My mum used to work in Sevenoaks and the auntie of the Associate Director of Matilda [the musical] used to shop in my mum’s shop all the time so they became really good friends. Through that connection, I managed to meet Lotte Wakeham and sit in at Sweet Charity at National Youth Music Theatre because she was directing it. I met two really cool MDs, Alex Aitken and Tom Deering and I remember Alex said to me “you should email MDs to get in the pit,” and I didn’t even know that was a thing. I had no idea that you could go to a West End pit. Especially at 15/16. I then messaged so many MDs and genuinely, they were all so lovely. They always responded. I sat in loads of pits and through that I got my name out there. I remember Nick Finlow, who is an absolute GOD MD, he is amazing. After I sat in with him, we kept in contact and he would let me play for him. It was just really lovely.

Say I’m a new Music grad and I want to message an MD to ask about sitting in the pit. What is the most appropriate way to do so?

I would avoid Instagram and Facebook because they’re very personal. That could come across quite unprofessional and also a little bit intrusive. If you’re going to message them on social media because that’s the only way you have to contact them, I think LinkedIn is very appropriate for that. Twitter, maybe. The best way is trying to find their email if you can. I know a lot of MDs put their CVs online so you can find them.

I’ve personally struggled finding direct email addresses for the creatives I’ve wanted to contact as many of them are represented by an agency. How would you approach that situation?

A lot of MDs I’ve emailed have actually been represented by someone so I’ve messaged their agent asking for them to pass the email on.

Do you think networking differs over email to in person? Is is easier to be a little braver over email?

Definitely.

When is the appropriate time, if you’re shadowing someone, to start up a conversation? It can sometimes feel like you’re interrupting them at work!

Normally, if you are shadowing someone they’ll take some time to chat to you and ask what you want to gain from the experience. Every single pit I’ve ever sat in, the MD has always been very accommodating. They’ll also usually introduce you to the whole pit. Sometimes you just kind of have to go for it and it’s really scary but you need to try and make that conversation with someone. I think it’s easier to do it in person, surprisingly, because you can read the situation a bit better. Just go for it! There’s no easy way.

Do you feel like it gets easier, the more you network?

You know what, with every credit that I get, I get a little bit more confident. Also, having an agent really does help because they sing your praises but if you haven’t got an agent, it’s still not the end of the world. You can still make those connections. With every job, it does get easier to sell yourself.

Definitely. Can you tell me a bit more about your work with BYMT (British Youth Music Theatre)?

Of course! So last year, I was offered the role of Assistant Musical Director on a new musical written by Clare Prenton and David Hewson called The Accidental Time Traveller. It’s based on a Scottish children’s book. It was a Christmas themed show which was crazy because we were doing it in August but we had two weeks to put it on. The first three days everyone was meeting each other, playing games, that kind of thing and then on the Wednesday, we cast the show through workshop auditions. It was just such a good experience, working with a team of professional creatives. I met some really lovely people on that show.

The Accidental Time Traveller poster taken from the BYMT website

It’s no secret that COVID has affected the theatre industry, which we won’t go into today – it’s a heavy topic! How are things generally with you? What have you got planned?

I did have a contract that was supposed to have been this year and obviously that was cancelled. It was Side Show. I think I can say that? Yeah, I think I can. But, it was the big West End revival and it would have been sick.

(*Literally fan-girling so hard*) OH MY GOD THAT IS INSANE!!!!

Yeah, so I had that and then coming up I have a contract next February which I can’t say anything about yet. Obviously I’m still looking for work at the moment just hoping something will come up. I have a BYMT show that has been postponed until next year so hopefully that will happen. Other than that, I’ve been focusing on the YouTube channel.

Yes! Tell me more about the YouTube covers. I still feel very privileged that I was in your first cover!

Essentially it all started because Jen [Paterson, a mutual friend] was looking for a new song for her portfolio and I was in the car…it’s really funny…I was in the car and This World Will Remember Us [song from the musical Bonnie & Clyde] came on. It was the first time I’d really heard it and I was like ‘Oh my god, it sounds just like Ben [Tomalin, another mutual friend] and Gee [me!] singing. I remember I text you saying “Jesus Christ, you literally sound like Laura Osnes!”

I remember receiving that text and thinking ‘is she DRUNK?!’ (laughs). [For the purpose of this interview, Liv is one of my most supportive friends and hypes me up more than anyone else I know. A real gem.]

I wasn’t drunk! So, I messaged Jen saying let’s do this song. Obviously, we then got you and Ben in and filmed it. The plan was always for it to go onto YouTube and for it to be the start of a series but we weren’t sure where exactly it would go. We posted it over ‘Lockdown’ and everyone loved it so much and a couple of weeks later we decided to try more covers.

I love it and I think it’s an amazing creative outlet for people to have during these wild times. Ok, so. Last question. If you could give one piece of advice to recent creative graduates, what would it be?

I think never ever turn down a job unless there is a huge reason why you can’t do it. You don’t know what it will lead to.

And that concludes this instalment of ‘Foot in the Door’. Thank you so much to Liv for giving up her time to chat with me about all of the unreal things she has achieved since graduating (and no doubt will continue to go on achieving). I will link all of Liv’s social media channels, including her YouTube chan with the INSANE covers that some of my other amazingly talented friends have featured on. Honestly, it’s a hard life.

As always, thanks so much for reading. I really hope this helped you gain an insight into another creative pathway that can be explored post-uni whilst busting some networking myths at the same time!

Until the next one,

Gee xxx

LIV’S SOCIALS:

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/oliviazacharia/?hl=en

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTGyi41JnaJdwx6KuF9FzhQ

Foot in the Door #1

Lifestyle

Hello lovely readers!

Welcome to a new and (more than slightly) exciting mini-series on the old blog.

As a Theatre graduate, I have found navigating the job-hunting-scene a pretty merciless task. A lack of funding in the arts and thus, opportunities, has created an extremely saturated market. Essentially, there are too many people applying for not enough jobs. If it wasn’t already tricky enough, throw in a global pandemic and countless redundancies. Dreamy.

Having spoken to many peers, alumni and professionals about the difficulties of the job-game, I was (9 times out of 10) met with this response:

“You’ve just got to get your foot in the door.”

Foot poking through the opening of my kitchen door, I quickly realised that to secure my dream job (or let’s be real, just ANY job) it would take a little more than dramatically entering all of the rooms in my house. This phrase has come to haunt me over the post-graduate months so I started to mull over what it really means and how I could achieve it. “Getting your foot in the door” is essentially an umbrella term for networking your arse off, sending countless ignored emails out and learning that every single person you meet has the potential to know someone who knows someone who is the HR manager for the company you’re applying to. This phrase is pretty useless unless you are able to discover HOW to get your foot in the door. We need REAL EXAMPLES PEOPLE! All of this in mind, I decided to start this little series where I will be chatting to a whole variety of graduates – all from creative backgrounds – asking how they got their “foot in the door”. Hopefully, these posts will enable you to put in place some practical steps to start climbing up the job ladder. Your gal is here to help.

My first guest is the lovely Brontë Thomasson. Brontë (or more affectionately known as Bran) and I both studied together at university and I lived with her in my final year. I wanted to interview Bran as my first guest as she has had lots of different experiences since graduating, both pre and post-Covid-outbreak. I really hope you enjoy reading our chat and that you leave this post feeling slightly more informed about Brontë’s journey in such a way that you can reflect on your own.

DRUMROLL PLEASE! Here we go:

Hello, Brontë!

Hi! This is so exciting.

Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell the readers a bit about yourself. Who ARE you?

I’m Brontë. I’m 22 and I live in Brighton which is lovely. I’m currently doing some communication work for a non-profit in London as an Assistant which has been a really good experience. I also love food. I’ve really been getting into food blogging recently so may be looking to take that somewhere. We shall see. But in essence, I’m just a friendly, outgoing gal!

We love to see it! Did you go to university?

Yes! I studied Theatre and Performance.

What made you decide to choose Theatre as your area of study?

So, funnily enough I originally set out to study English Lit and Theatre. In my head, I thought I needed to do something more than just Theatre. I thought “ooo, if I add English into the mix it’ll make me more…what’s the word? Credible.”

Where do you think that thought originated from? That Theatre wasn’t a “credible” choice in its own right?

You know what? Answering that now, I actually have no idea. I think I just made it up in my head. My parents weren’t like “DON’T DO IT!” it was just me.

When you decided you were going to pursue Theatre, at that moment, did you have a certain career path in mind?

In the moment, that [Theatre] was what I wanted to do. It was my favourite subject at school, it’s what I did best in. I just loved it. Going into the degree, I had the classic “it would be great to be an actor” thought but to be honest, I had no clear direction.

Did you ever consider auditioning for drama school?

I did consider it but I really quickly put that to bed. It wasn’t for me.

As you progressed through university, did your career goal or vision change at all?

That’s a difficult one. I actually did think in my final year that theatre marketing would be cool which I did eventually try. But again, it was more that I wanted to see what happened once I’d finished.

How did you prepare for post-university life?

I think I kind of panicked and started applying for so many jobs. I remember the first job that I emailed about – I was in the middle of writing my disso at the time. But then, they replied saying “we’d need an immediate start” and that hadn’t occurred to me. For me, preparing was trying to get loads of applications out and keeping tabs on what was around. In terms of practicalities like housing or money, I honestly didn’t really have a plan.

I think that’s pretty normal! So, in terms of your job-hunting, how and where did you look for jobs?

I really got into looking at Arts Jobs. I’d been told that it was a great place for jobs in the arts. I think I started to get addicted to it! Maybe social media as well. I didn’t have any sense of LinkedIn or anything like that at this point. Luckily, the job that I did get when I graduated, I did find on Arts Jobs. So, I really do love it.

So Arts Jobs is the one! Love it. What did you / do you find the most difficult about applying for jobs?

Cover letters. Definitely the most difficult thing about applying for a job. One cover letter can sometimes take the whole day. Especially if you really want it. So, you can end up sending in a random one every now and then, hoping it makes sense. But that’s not good advice!

Do you have any tips for what makes a good cover letter from your experience?

Ooo, that’s a good question. So, what I’ve found, especially with the first job that I got, is really research the company and tailor the letter to how their values match up with your own.

I’ve found sometimes when applying for jobs, it can feel a little robotic if you are stating facts about the company to prove you have researched them. Surely, they will already know these things. How do you seamlessly weave in your research without it feeling forced?

I think using personal examples. Again, for my first job, the place where I worked really valued equality and inclusion and at the time, at uni, I was creating a piece surrounding racial inequality so I really wound that all together in the cover letter. This is what you believe in, this is what I’m doing right now and that is why we would be a great match.

How long did it take you to secure your first role post-uni?

I was very lucky in the sense that I already had a job lined up. I actually graduated mid-job.

Can you tell us a bit more about your first job? What sorts of things did you get up to?

So, I was a Marketing Assistant at Kiln Theatre in North London. I was helping with the day-to-day running of the social media accounts, designing artwork, marketing for their cinema and I did a really cool project called People of Kilburn where I interviewed local people and uploaded it onto the Instagram page. I loved it.

Brontë’s ‘PEOPLE OF KILBURN’ project

It’s probably worth mentioning that this was a fixed-term position as (whilst it was extended from 3 to 6 months) it wasn’t viable for the theatre to take on a permanent member of staff for the role. Post-Kiln, did you feel an advantage having experienced your first role as opposed to being new on the job-hunting scene?

If you’d asked me this pre-COVID, I would have said yes definitely. I actually got quite a few interviews after Kiln. Even if they weren’t related to what I’d done, companies were still interested in my experience. But now, I don’t really think it makes a difference. There are so many people applying for jobs. At the time, it helped a bit but now, no.

It’s no secret that COVID has devastated many industries, particularly the arts. Has this had any effect on you personally?

I have personally felt the effect. After Kiln, I started working in Influencer Marketing around March time. I literally had a week and a half in the office and then we all got sent to work from home. That was meant to be a six-month contract but because of COVID and finances and the changing of roles now that everyone was working from home, they didn’t really need my role anymore so I was let go two months earlier than planned. That kind of left me up in the air. If I’d seen the whole contract through, I would have only just finished now. I’ve been unemployed for two months.

How has this made you feel about the stability of the arts industry? Has it made you reconsider your chosen profession at all?

I think subconsciously I have moved away from looking at jobs in the arts. I’ve started looking at jobs that are more home-based or centred around social media. It feels even less safe than before applying for jobs in the arts because you don’t know if they’re going to let you go again.

So, what’s next for Brontë? You’re currently working a two-week placement role now. What are your plans for the future?

I want to take my time and really think about what I actually want to do. I’m really looking to take my food blog further. I’ve been having a lot of fun with that recently. If I do go back into the arts, I really want to be able to help people. I’d love to do community work. Even working for this charity for the past week has been a really humbling experience. But, who knows! I really can’t say a certain plan at this time.

What’s the name of the charity you’re working for?

It’s complicated but the full name is Daughters of Charity.

Last question! The big boy. What is your one, golden piece of advice for creative graduates trying to navigate the world of job-hunting?

Again, on a very practical note, make sure your CV is a good design. Make sure it stands out. Switch up the colours. Make it fancy. Only one page of A4!

And there we have it! The first instalment of ‘Foot in the Door’ is finito. If you made it this far, congrats. I’d love to thank my gorgeous Bran for agreeing to be the guinea pig as my first interviewee! I really hope you enjoyed learning about her post-uni journey. Please check out her socials:

INSTAGRAM: @bronteisa & @brontesbrunchnbites

Until next time, my lovely readers!

Gee xxx

FOLLOW ME ON MY SOCIALS:

INSTAGRAM: @geeblogs

TWITTER: @geeblogs

Honey, I’m Home!

Lifestyle

Why, HELLO.

Fancy seeing you here. Well, fancy seeing ME here too (it’s been a hot minute).

In an attempt to – rather belatedly – complete my New Year’s Rezzo ‘GEORGIA, YOU MUST BLOG MORE!!!!’, I figured it was finally time to put pen to paper, or rather fingers to keyboard. 

A few changes…

When I first started my blog, I was a fresh-faced 18-year-old student. I wrote about life as if I KNEW about life, which I guess, at the time, I thought I did. Fast-forward almost four years and it’s safe to say I’m not the same wide-eyed Fresher I once was. I plan on using my little space on the internet to chat all things that I love which, I’m guessing, will consist of lots of fashion, beauty and general life natters. Currently, I have no plans to stick to a strict writing schedule as I’d much rather type away when the words are flowing. That being said, I definitely do plan on sharing my opinions (that nobody actually asked for) on more of a regular basis.

Whether this is great news to you (Alexa, play Celebration by Kool & The Gang) or you’ve clicked on this thinking “when the hell did I subscribe to this random gal?”, then at least this post made you feel some typ-a way which is all I can really ask for. I’d love for you to stick with me while I (try to) navigate my way through the dreaded 20s (both age AND year-wise)!

In the famous words of the Shrunken Head (Harry Potter & Priz of Az, 2004):

It’s gonna be a bumpy ride. 

Let’s Talk About Bodies…

Lifestyle

We’re living in a time where image is everything.

Let me rephrase.

No matter the time in which you lived, image has always been everything. 

The Roaring Twenties saw the ‘finger wave’, the 30s championed pronounced cheekbones; the ‘wasp’s waist’ was all the rage in the 50s; bushy moustaches ruled the 70s; double-denim in the 90s, and the rise of fake tan accompanied the turn of the millennium. Throughout these endless trends, one thing has remained the same: the way in which one looks has always reflected the way in which one is perceived and thus treated. 

(SIDE-NOTE: I speak, mainly, from the perspective of women. In fact, one woman. Just little old me. I wish to avoid making sweeping statements that are universally applicable, that’s not what I am intending to do here. Rather, I hope to drive forward a conversation, based upon my own experiences as a female in her body, whilst potentially resonating with those who can relate). 

I started writing this post as a response to what I shall now and forevermore refer to as, ‘#AdeleGate’. I assume no context is needed but in case you’ve managed to escape the media frenzy, I’ll fill you in. Adele lost weight and the human race lost their shit. I could sit here all day and let my fingers loose on how weight is not a way in which an individual should be defined, described or commemorated, nor is losing weight a demonstration of good health. However, I’ll spare your eyes and my poor keyboard. That wouldn’t be fun for either. Whilst beginning to write, I realised that this speaks to a much larger problem, if you’ll pardon the pun. We, as humans, are so desperate to belong that our desire to conform to society’s standard of beauty is as ingrained in our upbringings as learning to walk or how to ride a bike. 

I recently read an article that questioned where these seemingly ‘innate’ opinions surrounding bodies and appearance come from. It asked you [the reader] to think about where this notion of commenting on someone else’s appearance originated and subsequently where these thoughts have later been reinforced. To me, it simply emphasised the way in which we rely on appearance to form our social structures. My personal memory, albeit a little silly, took me back to first school (‘primary’, for most). More specifically, ‘Kiss-Chase’. A pretty harmless game, one might argue, until you are the person who isn’t being chased by anybody. To this day, I distinctly remember a young boy, running as fast as his little legs could go, only to glance behind him and find no-one attempting to catch and smack a smooch on him. Whilst I agree this may seem a rather frivolous example, it still speaks to the idea that the brains of five, six, seven-year-old children are already peppered with appearance-based inclinations. 

In a world that celebrates conformity, we are expected to champion difference. And therein lies the problem. We’re living in a society that is underpinned by a seemingly inescapable juxtaposition. Women are praised for “embracing their curves” by the same people who cry in the mirror, squashing their rolls together. Women are demonised for being “too thin” by the same people who idolise celebrities whose bodies are a projection of unhealthy eating habits and excessive drug use. There is a falsity in the compliments we give others as they simply reflect our own biases and opinions. I struggle hugely with the idea of ‘self-love’. Self-love is riddled with societal standards. You’re either confident in yourself because you are a conformist, or because you defy said standards. Either way, you’re using this model as the norm to base your opinions off of. What I think would be a better achievement is if we could abolish these measures altogether. How? I haven’t quite worked that part out yet (unhelpful, I know!). 

I am cautious to sit here and write that we should not be commenting on the appearance of others as I believe that is an unrealistic feat. Also, it’s pretty sad. I’m not suggesting that you should never leave a “Gorg!” on your best friend’s latest Insta selfie, nor am I insinuating that society’s issue with appearance will be solved if we simply stop talking about it. Quite the opposite, actually. If we are able to formulate how and why we feel obliged to look a certain way, then perhaps we can start reversing centuries worth of demands and ideals that future generations may not have to endure. 

We can break the cycle. We just have to work together. 

November / December Faves

Faves, Lifestyle

Hello hello helloooooo lovely readers!!

Long time no SEE (well, write). I’m officially on Christmas break from university (FIIIIINALLY) so, naturally, my creative juices are flowing again. I have been resurrected from the blogging graveyard and I’m back to share with you all the things that I’ve been loving during my inexcusably long vacay. Let’s get crackin’.

What I’ve Been Wearing

I have been having an illicit love affair with flared trousers. Oh my god I cannot even BEGIN to tell you how obsessed I’ve been. They are the PERFECT solution to any daytime or night out situation depending on how you style them and I have honestly been living for the trend. Whilst I know they can be pretty pricey, I definitely think they are worth the investment, especially for wearing on a night out during the Winter months. A few pairs in particular that I’ve been wearing non-stop are the ones pictured above. The black velvet-striped and the blue/black velvet patterned pairs are both from Urban Outfitters and were £36.00 each. I also purchased a burgundy pair from the Topshop Petite range (short leg life). I can’t remember the exact price but I’m pretty sure they were around the £30.00 mark. As I said, they’re not the cheapest items in my wardrobe but equally for the amount of wear I’ve already got out of them, they are definitely worth the splurge. Also they look pretty funky too (low-key just trying to live out my Mamma Mia fantasy).

What I’ve Been Watching

I swear to God, university makes it so hard to just sit and watch TV (rightly so) which means I haven’t had nearly enough time to be watching everything on my Netflix list. That being said, I have recently finished watching Atypical, a Netflix Orig that focuses on Sam (a teenager with Autism) in his quest to understand love and find a girlfriend. Over the first few episodes, I wasn’t really sure whether this series was for me; I found it pretty hard to get into. My brother – who had recommended the series to me – encouraged me to persevere and I’m so glad I did. The scripting of the family dynamics are honestly beaut at times. I especially loved Sam’s relationship with his sister, Casey. Even though there were characters and plot-lines I wasn’t a major fan of (weirdly could not warm to the character of Elsa, Sam’s Mom ???) I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who hasn’t seen it. I’ll deffo be there for season 3.

I’ve also been watching a lot of YouTube as I find one-off vids easy to watch while I’m getting ready for uni in the mornings. I’ve always loved Louise Pentland’s weekly vlogs as she’s such a motherly figure, she makes me feel calm when I’m away from home (in the least weird way possible hahaha). I’ve also been watching a lot of Vlogmas vids, in particular Mark Ferris’ and Anastasia Kingsnorth’s (who recently went to NYC and brought back all the feels). Deffo give those a watch if you’re in the market for something a little festive over the next week or so.

What I’ve Been Listening To

Over the past few weeks, I have had Maisie Peters’ EP Dressed Too Nice For a Jacket on repeat. Honestly all day, every day. Making dinner in the kitchen? Maisie Peters. Driving in my car? Maisie Peters. Doing uni work? Maisie Peters. Her voice is so lush and her songs are super catchy. My faves change quite regularly but I love You To You and Details. I’ve also been loving a little bit of Ariana. If thank u, next isn’t my most played song of 2018 (even though it only came out in November) I will be very shocked. She seems to be releasing banger after banger recently with imagine being added straight to my playlist.

What I’ve Been Using

IMG_2945

Perhaps a little unpredictably, I have reached back into my makeup drawer for the highly controversial ABH Subculture palette. Whilst it received very disappointing reviews (from myself included) I’ve kind of discovered a strange love for it. At the beginning of November, I was very much into a glittery eye and would depend on my NYX glitter in ROSE for every night out (see pictured my horrifying Halloween makeup lol). However, over the past few weeks, I’ve really been feeling a matte look, particularly an orangey transition with a bold colour packed all over the lid. Subculture is perfect for supplying these kinds of shadows. My fave one to use has been Axis as I think green is complimentary to my eye colour but I’ve also dipped into All Star which is a deep, burgundy shade (perf for Winter).

What I’ve Been Doing

I really wish I had some cool things to write which make me look like I’ve been living the high life but in reality, I’ve been consumed by university life. I’m now in my final year so it’s really time for me to be cracking down and trying to manage the workload that my degree brings. I did manage, however, to sneak in a few nights out and celebrations along the way. In terms of performancey fun, we had our Musical Theatre Autumn Showcase which – although weighed down with major stresses – turned out pretty successfully and I also sang with some lush pals for my friend Liv’s assessment piece which was v enjoyable. In relation to my Christmas holiday plans, I will pretty much be sleeping and avoiding doing my uni work as long as humanly possible. Who knows, I may even get another blog post out before I go back (let’s be real).

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As always, thank you for reading or just having a little nose.

I hope you have the loveliest Christmas full of food and fam,

G Xx

Instagram: @geeblogs

(Kind Of) March Faves

Lifestyle

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I. Am. Back.

You may (or may not) have noticed that I’ve taken a little (slightly more than little) vacay from the old blogging world over the past few weeks (*cough* months *cough*) but do not fear – your gal is back. The suitcases are unpacked, the passport is away and I’m ready to write something that I hope turns out to be a little more than average. It’s been pretty crazy which meant that sadly my lil blog had to go into hibernation for a short while but the time has come for me to saddle up and get back on the horse (is that a saying or have I just made that up????). When I was thinking about how to break the seal – for want of a better phrase – it occurred to me that I haven’t posted a ‘monthly faves’ since OCTOBER last year so, naturally, here I am writing one. I’ll hold my hands up now, I may slightly cheat and include a few things that I’ve been loving throughout the past few months instead of just March as I haven’t written one of these posts in so long (pls forgive me and still love me).

What I’ve Been Wearing

 

Over the past month, I have been reaching for this pair of black flares a lot. I actually bought them a while ago but didn’t get much wear out of them to start with. Although now, if I’m going to any ‘smart-cas’ event, these trousers are an immediate go-to. They’re super flattering and obviously go with pretty much any top I’m feeling. I recently wore them to a Glitterbomb event at my Students’ Union where Alyssa Edwards from RPDR was performing (yaaaaas!!). These trousers are a pretty flexible piece: they can be dressed down, with a cute cropped t-shirt and converse or if you whack on a little halter-neck and heels, you’re ready for a night of boogie-ing somewhere slightly more upmarket than your SU.

What I’ve Been Watching

So my biggest TV obsession over the past few months has 100% been Grey’s Anatomy. I cannot lie to you, (this even impresses myself) I managed to finish all 13 seasons available on Amazon within a two and a half week period (slightly embarrassed, slightly proud). I just bloody loved everything about the show – the amount of times I was sat in my room sobbing like an absolute loser with nothing better to do on a Friday night was not ok. I fell in love with all of the characters and honestly felt slightly lost once I’d reached the end.

Aside from GA, I also watched Victoria. If you know me, you’ll know my two favourite types of TV programmes are crime-related or historical dramas. Whack anything on that is set in any era from the past and I am your gal. So, when I saw Victoria had come onto Netflix, I was probably more happy than any regular person would have been. I’d been wanting to watch it when it first came out on ITV but I never found the time during my first year at uni. I watched the entire first season within the space of a few days then ordered the Season 2 DVD from Amazon straight away. I’m so obsessed with Jenna Coleman and when I found out that she is actually dating her co-star Tom Hughes I may have cried a little bit (with joy). Cannot WAIT for Season 3.

What I’ve Been Listening To

 

Where to even begin with the music I’ve been listening to…although I can’t lie, it’s pretty much all been MT (what’s new??). I’m currently in rehearsals for a production of ‘The Last Five Years’ so have been using that as an excuse to get my daily dose of being serenaded by Jeremy Jordan. My go-to picks are ‘Shiksa Goddess’ and ‘If I Didn’t Believe in You’. I’ve also been obsessing over Lin & Ben Platt’s ‘Found/Tonight’ collab which is just too dreamy for words. Aside from this, Dogfight has been played on the reg – I espeically love ‘Come to a Party’ and ‘First Date / Last Night’.

What I’ve Been Using

Beauty-wise, I haven’t really been Captain Adventurous throughout 2018 so far. I got a few makeup bits for Christmas which have made their way into my daily routine, but other than that it’s been pretty samey. Having said that, I’ve fallen slightly in love with two products in particular: the Too Faced Just Peachy Mattes palette (which I’m preeeetty sure I’ve spoken about before) and the Cover FX Highlighting Drops. I’ll insert a few pics where I’ve used both of these products – although they’re both on the slightly spenny side of life, they’re most definitely worth the investment!!

 

What I’ve Been Doing

I don’t even know to where to begin. I feel like I’ve blinked and 3 months have flown by. It’s been another whirlwind semester at university, with the majority of my time being taken up by rehearsals (nothing new here friends). I performed in Musical Theatre Society’s production of ‘The Wedding Singer’ at the beginning of March, whilst also beginning rehearsals for Music and Drama Society’s ‘The Last Five Years’ which opens in May.  Due to all these rehearsals, my social life has boarded the hibernation train but I’ve slowly been starting to feel it waking up over the past few weeks or so. HOWEVER, in true Georgia style, I couldn’t say no to a few nights out here and there.

My brother turned 21 last week so (naturally) there were celebrations. My family and I went to London for the day, watched School of Rock and ate reaaaaally good food. I’m taking him to see Kinky Boots this weekend which I’m also super excited about!! I’m now on Easter break and am so looking forward to being an absolute slob, trying to make my way through as many TV series as humanly possible in the few weeks I have off.

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I hope you all have a lovely Easter weekend & enjoy relaxing over the break. (Virtually) see you – hopefully – very soon!

All the love,

G X

Instagram: @geeblogs

Women Are F**king Fabulous

Lifestyle

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In light of it being International Women’s Day today, I thought I would write a little post emphasising what it means to me to be a woman in this day and age – in particular, paying homage to all of the women who have lived before me and those who will live after me. Although I reflect on this each IWD, this year seems slightly more prominent due to the endless campaigning surrounding the ‘#MeToo’ movement combined with other stories being published in the media covering similar topics.

Having grown up in a family with three brothers and no sisters, I’ve always viewed both genders as equal. If my brothers were playing outside, I wanted to play outside. If my brothers had to finish their broccoli before being allowed dessert, I had to do the same. If my brothers were wrestling with each other, you can bet I was there too throwing a good punch or five. What I’m trying to say is that I never received any preferential treatment or felt that I couldn’t do something that the boys could do because I was a ‘girl’. This mindset has most definitely followed me into my teenage years and early adulthood. I’m such a firm believer in it being possible to achieve anything you want in life, if you put the right amount of work in. I don’t think gender even comes into play. I feel fortunate enough to say that personally, at this point in my life, I have never felt oppressed because of my gender but I’m not naive to the fact that once I get into the workplace, this may change, which alone saddens me. Why should I be worried that I won’t be as valued in the workplace as a male? Why should I be earning less money than a male for doing exactly the same job as them? I’ve never been able to grasp the concept that whatever sits between your legs determines what you can do in life and in all honesty, I don’t think I’ll ever understand it. I’m also not blind to the fact that things like the gender pay gap can’t be changed overnight but what I want to see is movement towards this development happening.

Each IWD I like to think about all of the women who have inspired me to become a badass, independent gal who has her life together (still waiting for this to happen). As cliché as it might be, my Mom is top of that list. When she was just a little bit older than myself, my Mom moved two hours away from her family home to work in a completely new town and build a life for herself. From there, she went on to have four children spanning from age 6 to newborn whilst STILL WORKING – she honestly is a real-life Supermom. I do not know how she juggles everything and makes it look so effortless – she has never once compromised her career or her family for the alternative but has somehow managed to happily succeed in both. THAT is what I want to be and do when it’s my turn.

I think it’s so important to recognise these stand-out women in our lives who help us shift and grow until we end up on our little paths in life, heading to where we need to be. Women are f**king fabulous. We are strong-minded, intelligent, warm and loving souls who somehow manage to carry the weight of a whole other human inside of us, helping them grow and giving them life which I think is pretty incredible (!!!!!!!) whilst also kicking absolute ass in any career path we choose to pursue. Women should celebrate each other: the successes and even the failures because as a collective, we genuinely are unstoppable. It’s crucial that our generation of women stick together and become a driving force that allows the females who will follow us to swim in a pool of proudness at the thought of being a woman.

I’m super proud to be a woman.

G x

The “Theatre Degree” Stigma

Lifestyle

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A few things have happened recently that have awoken the little voice inside my head that likes to come out and rant every now and then. The constant threat of funding cuts to the arts and the disappearance of subjects such as Music and Drama from GCSE option boxes across the country are just two of the reasons why I wanted to write this post. Recently, my friend Sophie performed an autobiographical piece about the injustice that undercurrents the education system, in terms of the prejudice that surrounds Theatre as both a subject and a potential career path. Her ‘political rant’ resonated a lot with me, making me think about the many times I’ve been made to feel slightly (I hate to say it but) ashamed of my choice to study Theatre at university.

When it came to choosing my degree subject almost 3 years ago now (oh my gaaaad, where has the time gone?!) there was an obvious winner in my mind from the outset. Yes, I attended Law talks at Warwick and even a Psychology open day at Cambridge, but my heart always led me back to Theatre. Anyone who knows me will understand how important a role the theatre has played in my life and these are the people who have never once questioned my decision to further my education in this field. That being said, there is definitely a prominent stigma around studying for a Theatre degree or particularly around the people who study for a Theatre degree and that is something I have always found ridiculous.

Historically, the subject of Theatre Studies has been branded as “fluffy” and has yet to be viewed on the same level in terms of difficulty as other more traditional subjects, such as Geography or Maths. Therefore, the assumption that the people studying for a Theatre degree are “less academic” and “less able” has been cemented amongst the minds of the majority. However, the stereotype that someone who enjoys learning about the theatre industry is less intelligent than someone who enjoys studying continental drift or trigonometry is honestly absurd to me. If I had a pound for the amount of times I’ve received a patronising “oh, how nice” or “oh, so do you want to be like an actress or something?” after revealing that I study Theatre at university, I would be a veeeeery rich gal.

People don’t seem to understand that my course is academic (trust me, at times it is too academic!!!). I’m still submitting essays at the end of every module, reading ridiiiiiiculous amounts of academic writing each week and attending seminars and workshops. On top of this, I am rehearsingBeing a theatre student, you are not only assessed theoretically but also practically which comes with the assumption that you will carry out a set number of hours as ‘rehearsal time’. Quite honestly, I think I spend 90% of my life rehearsing for something or other (and that is not me being an overdramatic drama student, I promise). I would absolutely loooove to invite the people who have this preconception of Theatre as a subject to sit in on one of my seminars and give their opinion on how phenomenology affects an audience’s experience or how romanticism conformed to or subverted the avant-garde movement towards postmodernism (literally just throwing all the big words that I know at you now lol).

It really does sadden me that I feel as if I have to justify my decision to study a subject that I love to other people who are too quick to judge. Theatre makes me happy. Theatre interests me. Theatre makes me want to learn. So, why shouldn’t I study for a degree in it? Because it’s not ‘academic’? Because I’m ‘never going to get a real job’? Or because I’ll ‘never have a stable income’? My response to these questions is one of self-fulfilment in the sense that I know for a fact that whatever job I do end up doing, in whichever part of the industry I decide to go into, I’ll be doing it because I love it, not because I have to be doing it. Whilst this may be an unpopular opinion of the minority, I would much rather live a life where I’m potentially not always in a constant flow of work, but when I am working it’s doing something that I’m passionate about, rather than being stuck in a 9-5 office job that I absolutely despise. I find it so disheartening when I hear people say “you’re not supposed to love your job…that’s why it’s called work,” because, honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to enjoy what you do.

Another thing that really makes me laugh is that the people who undermine Theatre as a career choice will have a favourite film, or a favourite book, or will enjoy going to watch the pantomime at Christmas, or a musical on Broadway, or will watch every ITV drama under the sun. What they don’t seem to understand is that THEATRE PEOPLE HAVE MADE THESE THINGS HAPPEN!! The industry is one that brings constant enjoyment to the lives of (may be generalising here but I’m going to roll with it) everyone, or has done at least once in their lifetime. That’s why it makes me so sad that as theatre students, it feels like we’re fighting this constant battle to defend our subject to those so quick to undermine it.

I feel as if I have fully just word-vommed onto the page but I thought it was important to fight my little corner about a subject I’m super passionate about and love with allllll ma heart.

(Also just want to take a few words to defend all my fellow Theatre guys and gals. The people that I study with and others that I know who study elsewhere are honestly some of the best, most intelligent people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Their creativity is OFF THE SCALE and their knowledge literally pours out of them every time they speak. All the love ever).

G X

What I Got For Christmas 2017

beauty, Lifestyle

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I’m going to start with the typical, blogger opening you’ve probably already read at least 20 times, but I can’t believe we’re almost at the end of 2017. Honestly, for me, this year has flown by. I’m a good-way into my second year at university (which means scary life decisions are looming) and I’m almost a third of the way through my final year as a teen (equally as scary!!). I just want to quickly apologise for my absolute failure of an attempt at doing ‘Blogmas’ – I had every good intention but the practicality of uni deadlines and the general life rush that occurs during the lead up to Christmas defeated me. I’m super sad because I had some really cute posts planned, but I guess that’ll give me a reason to attempt it again next year! Thankfully, life has calmed down a little bit now which means I’m back to blogging – I have a few posts planned for the next few weeks that are New Year-related so I hope you enjoy reading those. For now, I’d love to share with you a few of the bits I received for Christmas this year.

Sephora Favorites ‘Give Me Some Nude Lip’ – Sephora

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If you read my Christmas Wishlist post, you’ll know that this Sephora gift set was something I had my eye on. My parents went to New York just before Christmas so I was super excited at the prospect of getting a few makeup bits that are harder to get your hands on the in the UK. I think these sets are a really good way of testing out new brands before you pay full price for a product you may not really like. All of these lip products are gorgeous but my favourite (surprisingly for me) is the Ciaté London Liquid Velvet Lipstick. 

Sephora Favorites ‘Glow For It’ – Sephora

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I am so bloody excited about this set. Highlighters are up there with my favourite category of makeup products and I’ve been wanting to try some of these brands for the longest time. I’ve heard nothing but good things about BECCA highlighters and I’ve always wanted to try the Cover FX drops. On Christmas day, I combined both of them which left me with the most blinding highlight that I was LIVING for. I’m super excited to try out the rest of these products.

MAC Snowball Pigment and Glitter Kit – MAC Cosmetics

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Again, I’m super excited to have received this cute little MAC set. I’ve never tried their pigments before but I used the champagne-y colour yesterday and I was very happy with it. I’m excited to use the white sparkly pigment soon and am planning to use the gold glitter for New Year’s Eve. These pots should last me a little while as you only need to use the tiniest amount so I think they’re pretty good value. I know MAC have 10% off most products today in the Boxing Day Sales so it would definitely be worth trying to get your hands on this!! They also do a ‘Pink’ version which, as the name suggests, has more pink-y coloured pigments and glitters. I went with the ‘Gold’ set as I tend to wear oranges, browns and burgundys on my eyes.

Too Faced ‘Just Peachy Mattes’ Palette – Sephora

I’ve been obsessed with this palette ever since it dropped with the rest of the ‘Peaches and Cream’ range by Too Faced. Unbelievably, I’ve never tried Too Faced shadows before so I was really excited to receive this. The colours are right up my street – I could happily just use this palette forever. I used this palette on Christmas Day and was really pleased with the pigmentation and how easily the shadows blend. If you want me to recreate the look for a blog post (see below) let me know – I was pretty pleased with how it turned out!

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Grey and Black Nike Trainers – Nike

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These trainers are actually one of my favourite prezzies, as they were a complete surprise. I love the colours as they will literally go with any outfit and they’ve come into my life at the perfect ‘January gym-going’ time. They’re super comfy as they are meant for running, although I will probably just be wearing them on the day-to-day. I will definitely be getting a lot of use out of these as I pretty much live in trainers at both university and home. My Mom did well here!!

Striped Calvin Set – Calvin Klein

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If you know me, you’ll know I’m obsessed with Calvins. They’re just so comfy and I love the look of them, so I was really happy to get this set. I’ve never actually seen this pattern before and I fricking LOVE it. I’m super excited to add this set to my growing collection.

Burgundy Kate Spade Rucksack & Purse – Kate Spade NY

I’m still a little bit in shock about these two presents as I wasn’t expecting them at all. Recently, I’ve been obsessed with rucksacks and if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know I have a major soft-spot for anything Kate Spade. I’m absolutely in love with the colour of this bag and purse – it’s perfect for the Winter months. Also, I’ve been needing a new purse as my Ted Baker one has been used to death. So yay!!! Absolutely in love.

Those are a few of the lovely presents I received this year. What did you get?

I hope you had a great Christmas!

Lots of love,

G X

Instagram: @geeheasel

Twitter: @geeheasel

November Faves

beauty, Lifestyle

What I Wore: Velvet Purple Culottes / Faded Black Mom Jeans

This month I have two fashion favourites that I couldn’t decide between. The first are these GORGEOUS velvet culottes from Zara – to add to my ever-growing collection. I love culottes as I feel you can either dress them up and wear them for a night out or pair them with a cropped t-shirt and converse and you’re good to go for the day. I think they’re super festive and I know I’ll being getting a lot of wear out of them. Also, they retail for £19.99 in Zara which I think is amazing value!!

Another Zara purchase I’ve been living in throughout November has to be these black Mom jeans. I’ve ALWAYS been looking for the perfect pair of Mom jeans but I’ve never found any that look right. Because I’m so small, a lot of them swamp me and make me look shapeless but I think I have finally found what I’ve been searching for!! I paid around £30.00 for these jeans (don’t quote me) which I think is pretty reasonable. As you can see, I’ve teamed them with this cute D-ring striped belt from Missguided and a black cropped t-shirt from PLT.

What I Watched: Stranger Things

Although slightly predictable, Stranger Things was my obsession throughout early November. Granted, I finished the season over a two-day period but it still counts as being a November fave. I’d been waiting (for what felt like FOREVER) for season 2 to come out as I fell in love with the show from the very first episode. There is something so charming about each of the amazingly talented child actors that makes the slightly weird and creepy show so relatable. Season 2 did not disappoint plot-wise and I literally cannot wait for the third!!

What I Listened To: The Wedding Singer

This month has been filled with musical theatre for me, in relation to what I’ve been listening to. As I’ve mentioned, I directed a show which included a variety of songs from different musicals however I also found out that I’ll be playing the role of Julia in my university’s production of ‘The Wedding Singer’ in 2018. So, naturally, I’ve had the soundtrack on repeat. The music is super feel-good and I’m really excited to start rehearsals next week!! My favourite songs are ‘It’s Your Wedding Day’, ‘Not That Kind Of Thing’ and ‘All About The Green’.

What I Used: Soph X Makeup Revolution Highlighter Palette

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I’m not going to ramble on about this palette for too long as I’ve done a full-length review that you can read here. This has been my go-to product throughout November as pretty much all of the shades are (thankfully!!!) pale enough for me to wear so I can match my highlight to my eyeshadow – which makes me more excited than it probably should…

I’d definitely recommend getting your hands on this gorgeous palette if you can, it’s more than worth the £8.00 it retails for.

What I Did: 

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I hope your November has been amazing!!

Lots of love,

G X

Instagram: @geeheasel