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Whether things aren't going as planned, or you feel like you need a new direction, job hunting can be a pretty daunting task. And with Christmas looming, it's not the greatest time to be looking for new job. So when the folks from City Calling (a jobsite that helps people 'find their calling')got in touch, I agreed to share my top tips on how to nail your next interview. I don't think it matters how many times you've been for an interview. They're always pretty nerve-wracking. But there are 5 fail safes I always rely on to make sure I'm on top of my interview game.

Do Your Research
Yeah if might sound like a bit of an obvious one, but it works whether you're simply applying for a job, or you've made it to interview stage. Research is key. Make sure you know who the company are and what you've got to contribute. At work I get a lot of prospective emails from people looking for work. And one thing that sets you apart is knowing your stuff. If you already understand who the company is and why you'd be great to work for them, then it can make all the difference.

Wear Something Sensible
Ok, so another obvious one. So you've gotten the interview, and you've spent a week prepping the perfect outfit. Sure, you want to look your best. And you want to look smart. But if you feel a bit wobbly in those new heels, or they're giving you blisters just walking out your front door, maybe rethink them. While you want to look great, wearing something that's smart but comfortable can automatically help you feel more relaxed.

Get Organised
So you're applying for a pretty high stress job, you want to show you can multi task, cope under pressure and manage your time like a boss. Great. Did you check where your interview was happening? Did you make sure you have everything you need to bring with you? Did you definitely iron that shirt last night? There's nothing like proving the skills you have on paper. And if you show up for the interview a dithering mess without a clue, it's not going to do much to prove how well you can handle yourself. Not to mention the stress that running backwards and forwards because you haven't got properly organised beforehand will cause you. And that's before they're even grilling you with tough questions.

Be On Time
My friends sometimes joke about the fact I'm always running at least 15 minutes late. It's not really a joke. Most of the time I am. But when it comes to job interviews, client meetings or anything professional.. Punctuality is a massive bugbear for pretty much everyone I've ever worked with. Yeah accidents and freak instances of apocalyptic style weather happen. And most reasonable people will let you off. But people are busy, and they don't want to sit around and wait all day for you. So if you're not sure where you're going or how long it will take you to get to the interview, set off early. Being late makes you look disinterested and uncommitted. Because if you can't show up on time to sell yourself as the perfect candidate, you'll have a hard time convincing your interviewer that you'll be an exemplar employee.

Act Confident
Sure your hands might be shaking, and you might have to cough over your quivering voice. You might be mega prepared for this but you're bound to be nervous. It's ok, just don't let nerves get the better of you. There's nothing worse than feeling like you've worked your arse off preparing for an interview, only to go to pieces on the day. Chances are, the more prepared you are, the less nervous you'll be. But there's simple things that I always think help me stand a little taller. I always find something that helps me is making a conscious effort to put something on that I know looks good. Whether that's your outfit, a signature scent or a bright lipstick that will give you a boost.

And remember, if you've gotten as far as interview stage then you've done most of the hard work. You've managed to set yourself apart from a whole other pile of papers on your interviewer's desk. So now, try to stay calm and let them see exactly why you're the perfect person for the job. Good luck!
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I'm happy to admit that when it comes to bags and shoes, I'm a snob. No matter how much I love the style, if I don't feel like the craftsmanship's there then I won't invest. So that means bags and shoes MUST be leather. But it's not just to do with quality of materials. Since I'm pretty sentimental and I get attached to my stuff, it makes more sense to buy pieces that will last. Right now I'm not exactly in the market for a new bag, but thanks to Klein and Kate, his gorgeous (practically model) gf, Parka and the Leather Satchel Co's collaboration started appearing on my instagram feed. And of course I couldn't help lusting after their full collection.
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The collaboration between the two British brands' came about from a 'mutual respect for their aesthetic and quality'. And the result? A beautifully timeless range of hand-crafted unisex leather bags. They're somewhere between a classic tote, and a vintage children's satchel. I love the thickness of the leather and its sturdiness. They're the sort of bags that just get better with age. And you know that as the leather starts to wrinkle and crease, you'll love it even more than the first time you slung it over your shoulder.
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Photos by Klein Borrill
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There's something pretty indulgent about staying in a hotel in the same city that you live in. So when Tune hotels got in touch and asked if I'd like to stay over at their new place on Side, I couldn't resist bringing the girls along. Since we all live in the same city, it's rare that we all get to get ready together. And it seemed like the perfect excuse to grab a few bottles of champagne, dress up, get drunk and pretend that we were on The Hills.
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Perched on the bank just up from the Quayside, Tune hotel is literally in the perfect place to start your night. So we knew that after spending a couple hours getting ready, we'd be able to just stroll straight up to Alvinos to start the night. We could check into the room from 3pm, but since none of us planned on staying the night, we headed across at about 7pm to explore. The hotel itself is pretty modern but they've retained the original emerald green tiles that anyone who visited Kublai Khan will remember. It's the kind of simple, clean minimalism that comes with a small price tag, but sets Tune apart from the likes of the Travel Lodge and Premier Inn by giving it a bit more personality.
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Knowing that I was bringing the girls along, we'd been booked into a twin room to give us a little space to get ready. Inside, the decor was kept pretty simple with a nice wooden floor, a huge full length mirror that was perfect for pre-night out selfies, and plenty of room for dancing about like lunatics. The only qualm we had was there seemed to be a distinct lack of surfaces.. other than a small bedside table and a little desk in the corner. The idea behind Tune hotels is to keep things simple, offering you just the basics you need. They're not luxury, but they're nicely designed and a clean place to lay your head. Their no frills approach, means you have to pay to add on extras that you might expect to usually find (like towels and a hair dryer). But they're perfect if you're looking for a budget city break. Or if you just resent paying over the odd for a place to sleep. And with rooms for as cheap as £15 (if you book in advance), you'll be left with more money to spend on a nice outfit... or in our case, champagne to start the night!
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Ever since I was a kid, I've always had a fascination with the macabre. And Halloween is certainly no exception. There's nothing I love more than a creepy tale about the unexplained. 

But while I've got a love for all things Halloween related - the parties, the stories, the candies, the films - there's one bit I'm not so keen on now I've got a bit older: the costumes. I don't know why I've got this about fancy dress. I hate the effort I have to go to thinking of what to wear. I hate then having to buy my costume. Despite growing up with the biggest dressing up box of all my pals, somehow as an adult, I've got no interest.

Since this year I have plans to head to Screenage Kicksfor their Halloween double bill AND Lane 7's Halloween party, I thought I should put a little more effort into things. Rather than just opting for my fluffy black jumper a pair of hotpants and drawing whiskers on my face. So I've been looking on Pinterest for some inspiration for the spooky season. And whether you're spending Halloween at parties, or binging on Netflix all weekend hopefully these will give you some ideas too...
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Creepy Vintage Halloween Costumes (16)
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images from various sources via pinterest
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With the weather getting colder, usually I find that I start craving naughty food. I don't want salads or fresh fruit. Usually I want hot chocolates with cream and extra marshmallows, and stodgy food that will keep me warm. For some reason, that doesn't seem to have happened yet this year and instead I've been craving quinoa and all the good stuff! So when I was invited to sample Garden Kitchen's new menu, I couldn't resist trying their healthy mezze. It's been a while since my last review, and I was pleased to see that along with their delicious picnics, they had plenty of new dishes to offer! Since it's been a while since I'd seen one of my good friends and she'd just had a baby, I thought it was the perfect place for a girly catch up.

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I'm not going to lie, as soon as I'd started looking at the menu, the sound of chicken, Israeli Couscous Salad, Taboulleh, Quinoa Salad, Baba Ganoush, Avocado and Five Seeds, was too tempting for me to look at anything else. Helen on the other hand was a little more indecisive and eventually went for their fish finger sandwich and we shared a side of sweet potato fries. I'm not sure whether she was expecting such a posh fish finger sandwich but when the fresh white fish goujons in their soft ciabatta was sit enough, she seemed pretty happy with her choice!
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What I love about Garden Kitchen is that food is always such good quality. Whether it's cakes and coffees or a full meal, I've always felt like everything tasted super fresh! And my healthy mezze was certainly no exception. The combination of the pomegranate's sweetness and the nutty taste of the quinoa and taboulleh was perfect. I wasn't quite sure how I'd find the baba ganoush but it went really well with the avocado, so definitely no complaints. Although I'm definitely not the one to usually opt for a salad, since my first trip to Naked Deli a few weeks back, I have had a proper craving for health food. And it always seem so filling.

After working my through (and helping Helen out with the fries), we ordered a couple of coffees and settled back to catch up on gossip. I always think Garden Kitchen is sort of in a strange place for a restaurant. But being in Eldon Gardens, rather than the main part of the shopping centre, it has a sort of peaceful feel to it. You don't get too many shoppers bustling past and it's a quiet place to sit and catch up with friends.
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A/W has always been my favourite season. The sun might be gone but I'm happy to make do with Les Beiges to keep the colour on my cheeks, and a clean, crisp fragrance like Jo Malone's wood, sage and sea salt perfume. From the first crunchy leaves to the cold, biting air that comes right before the snow starts to fall, there's nothing I love more than when the time comes to dig out my cosy winter clothes. And since last year I had such a big cull (and I'm pleased to say a lot of it made it down to Crisis to support their Winter Coat Amnesty), I've been starting to look at the gaps in my wardrobe.. what's missing, what new pieces I want to add, and of course what needs replacing.

From old favourites like my vintage sheepskin coat, to new favourites like the black thigh high boots I invested in last year, I've got a handful of pieces I know I'll be dragging back out for the next few years. But then there's nothing I love more than treating myself to new additions for my winter wardrobe.. Like an extravagant cashmere scarf. Or a statement print skirt? Well you know those moments when you know you should've bought something weeks ago? That leopard print skirt is right at the top of my list. I've been carefully avoiding Topshop for the last few weeks in the vain attempt to not just spend all my money on clothes (and to try and keep my purchases to occasional investments that are made to last), and look how well that pays off.. Now I've tried pretty much every Topshop in the North East to get my hands on an 8 or a 10. So far, no good. And I resent paying any more than RRP for it on eBay. Which just proves to myself that my impulse purchasing instinct should always be followed. I mean, I've usually got at least two weeks to justify it to myself.

In the mean time though and by avoiding Topshop, I've become completely addicted to TK Maxx. Between their Gold Label treasures (like the See by Chloe cardigan above), you never know what you might find. And with more and more popping up all over the North East (like our most recent addition in Bishop Aukland), I've had the perfect excuse to visit different stores and see what goodies they each have to offer. It's definitely hit or miss. But after finding the most perfect winter coat (photos to come soon), I'm convinced it's completely worth taking the time to rummage!
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Anyone who's known me for longer than about five minutes, knows that I've got this thing about gingham. Winter or summer, despite my best efforts, it manages to creep into my wardrobe. This Topshop dress has seen me pretty well through summer, and now the days are starting to chill, I can already tell that coupled coupled with the lovely grey wool biker jacket I was sent c/o Great Plains, and some black ankle boots, I feel like it'll work well all the way through.
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As the days are getting crisper, I've been starting to think more about putting together my winter wardrobe. Sure, I've got old staples that make up most of it, and plenty of pieces from last year that I'll bring out. But it's always nice to get something new... And you can already guess I've got my eye on plenty! I'm trying not to go too mad though and just invest in a few key pieces. And you can't really go wrong with a classically shaped, grey wool jacket, can you? For some reason, I've never been much of a jacket or coat person. And one thing I never seem to have are 'night out friendly' jackets that you can shove on over a nice dress.. other than my leather jacket, I pretty much have no small jackets that I think are smart enough to wear to go out. So this grey wool number fits happily into my wardrobe. It's structured shape means that it's fitted enough to not swamp me, but it's still a little on the baggy side, so I'd happily be able to be able to wear a cosy jumper underneath. I'm not sure if it's just me, but I find the sizing in Great Plains tends to run a little larger, so I tend to size down from what I'd usually go for. Especially for their coats and jackets, which are usually pretty generously sized. I'm pretty much always a S or a size 8-10, but this is an XS and still has plenty of room!
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I can't wait to try styling this with more pieces. I don't know about you, but I always find that I add things to my wardrobe in twos.. I can never just get one dress, or one skirt. So shortly after I was gifted this gorgeous jacket, I stumbled on an amazing herringbone See by Chloe coat in TK Maxx. More to follow on that soon though!

Outfit details:
jacket: c/o Great Plains, dress: Topshop, boots: Kurt Geiger, necklace: vintage

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