So you’ve passed your degree, made it through graduation without tripping over your own feet, you have an actual adult job to go to Monday through Friday, but now what?
It’s a totally new frontier for most people, and one that none of our years of schooling and standardised testing and summer holidays have prepared us for. It’s been two years since I graduated and had to go out into the big, wide world, and upon reflection, these are the ten things I wish someone had let me in on before I became a real grown up. Or at least, the attempt of a real grown up that I am now.
Last weekend I went to Ladies Day, the second day of the Aintree Grand National weekend, and had an absolutely incredible time, even though I didn’t win a penny. I even got brave enough to enter the style awards, and although I didn’t win I loved taking part and getting my picture taken. Here’s my full races outfit:
My dress is from a Chinese eBay store, only £35 quid! As for accessories, my shoes are New Look, bag is Vivienne Westwood, necklace is Swarovski and my fascinator (pictured at the bottom of this post) was made by my rather excellent mother.
But, being as it was my first time, I definitely learnt some pointers about attending the races, mainly that
- You should always wear comfy shoes. You’re on your feet all day, in slightly treacherous ground conditions (grass is no ones friend) and there isn’t anything worse than having sore feet! So choose your shoes carefully, make sure they’re a great fit, supportive straps are your friend and make sure you test wear them around the house a minimum of three times, I didn’t order mine till 4 days before the event and so I had to test wear them around the office – not ideal!
- Be prepared. While no one wants a clutch bag you could fit the kitchen sink into, getting one big enough to stash emergency supplies in is essential! Make sure to stash plasters (in case your shoes turn out uncomfortable), wet wipes (useful for cleaning split booze off hands and mud off heels after a stagger across the grass) and hair slides to re-anchor hair styles or fascinators in case of uncooperative winds.
- Go digital. The Aintree Grand National is sponsored by Crabbies, so all race-goers this year were given the chance to download a special Crabbies pre-order app and oh my was it a good idea. You whack it on your smart phone, hook up your PayPal account to it and then when you arrive at Races hit ‘locate’. It then finds you the nearest bar and presents you with the menu for it, you pick your drink and order and it will give you a helpful notification when your drink is ready to collect, which allows you to skip all the queues and bar jostling, as well as eliminating the inevitable pile of change that these sort of events generate at the bottom of your bag. I also downloaded a William Hill betting app much with the same motivation (skipping queues, not having to carry cash) but also to save my complete embarrassment at the betting stall when it became apparent that I have no clue what odds are…it’s totally okay to pick a horse based on whether it has a cute name right? The only minor issue with having these apps is that as they’re hooked straight into your bank account, it’s waaaaaaay too easy to spend waaaaaay too much money. But hey, the races weekend is all about excess. Which brings me to
- Practise fascinator placement. As most of us don’t typically rock a fascinator day to day, figuring out where it’s supposed to sit in your head and how it’s supposed to work with your hair style isn’t the easiest part of the race day prep. Practise makes perfect with this one, and practise is very much supported by strategic back combing, hairspray and as many pins as are reasonably needed.
- Anything goes at Aintree. If you wanna rock a floor length dress with a train, you do it. If you wanna wear a jumpsuit, you do it. If you wanna wear a foot high fascinator, you do it. If you wanna use a bag shaped like a water can, you do it! (The winner of this years Style Awards did, and it’s worked out pretty well for her!)
So those are my big five lessons I learnt, hope they help out anyone who’s attending any of the other races coming up this sunmer!
This was my fascinator for the races, and it was probably the part of my outfit I liked best, especially since my mum made its, so I knew i wasn’t going to run into anyone else with the same headgear 🙈
(The Monster Book of Monsters did not form part of my races attire, but I do think the fascinator works for it too)
Lets face it, whether you had to go back before New Year, or Monday the 5th was your day of sorrow, no one really wanted to go back to work after the Christmas break. Literally no one. The first Monday in January is supposedly one of the most depressing days of the year, and I can feel that. Having to get out of your warm, toasty bed or off the couch, put on real clothes and actually function wasn’t something I was really looking forward to either, but after getting back into the swing of things, I’m actually glad ( :o ) to be back at work. Here’s some of the reasons it isn’t the worst thing in the world being back on a 9 – 5.
1. Being back at work means seeing all your work friends and colleagues again (who you hopefully like – if not disregard this post!), having a good old catch up, and making some plans for 2015.
2. You have a routine again! As nice as endless days off snacking on Christmas food and watching Elf are, it’s also nice to have some sort of purpose to your day again…and also to know that its Tuesday, not Christmas Eve Eve, or The Day after Boxing Day. (Does anyone use real days of the week during the Christmas break? I felt like I’d had two and a half weeks of Sundays).
3. You can enjoy all the excess chocolate/cake/goodies that everyone in the office got over Christmas and now wants to share and get rid of because they have 8 boxes of Mint Matchmakers chilling in their cupboard and they really need the space back.
4. There’s a chance to re-live all the best parts of Christmas and New Year as you tell your highlights to co-workers. The part of New Year where the bar man gave you a free bottle of Moet sounds way better when you miss out the two hours you spent waiting for a taxi at half five in the morning.
5. Now that you’re back at a place where you have to wear something other than your Christmas PJs, you can wear all your cool Christmas presents, or try out your sale buys. I’ve worn new clothes every day this week and my desk now has a cute new Pop Vinyl Rocket the Racoon from Guardians of the Galaxy on it!
Even with all these reasons though….I’m still not stoked to be up at 6.50 everyday.
Sarah Louise x