Monday, 31 August 2009

My Pink Life

Although I miss London it is nice to be back in my pink filled room. Clive the flamingo sits happily at then end of my bed and my dresses adorn my raspberry pink hat stand - on of them the pink union jack dress I wore to meet David Cameron. Perhaps I would rather be living in a busy city, but sometimes there is nothing quite like home.


Pink photos from London

The candy striped front of the shop 'Joie' down the street from the Cosmopolitan offices, and the floral wall papered back of Liberty. It seems one night when I was in London pixies waved a petal wand over the building - when I walked down Carnaby Street the next morning I nearly caused a collision as I stopped so suddenly to look up at it in wonder. Liberty is one of my all time favourite shops, and the wall papered exterior is part of the Prints Charming exhibition on the top floor of the shop.


Week 4 at Cosmopolitan

I am writing this from my bedroom. Outside I can hear a lawnmower, a few birds and the disconcerting sound of silence. Beside me my open wardrobe door reveals a month’s worth of clothes hung tidily away.
It would be easy to think I had never been away at all and that I had dreamt this last month, if it wasn’t for the few clues dotted around my room. An envelope propped up on my dressing table reads ‘Libby Page, Fashion Department, Cosmopolitan’: the card that accompanied the flowers my mum and sister sent me for my AS results. A pink bunny necklace is hanging from my jewellery mannequin. It was sent to one of the fashion assistants who didn’t want it. When she asked me if I would like it I replied, “Pink? Bunnies, my two favourite things!” As I write this I am leaning on a hefty copy of American Vogue that one of the fashion assistants gave me, and hanging from the end of my bed is a Cosmopolitan bag featuring hundreds of old covers. I can just spy a Cosmopolitan pen peaking amongst biros and make-up brushes in my pink mug. On my last day I happened to find a whole box full of these pens, and when I asked excitedly if I might be able to have one I was handed not only a pen, but a Cosmopolitan bag and a Cosmopolitan book ‘The Best of the 70s and 80s’. I was stupidly excited; they smiled at my enthusiasm and said that I was actually mad. I hope it was meant with affection and not disdain, but I suppose either way they were right. 
Next to me two new additions sit atop my pile of bracelets. The two bangles (pink) were part of the goodie bag I was given on my last day as a thank you. I found it strange that they were thanking me, when I feel so unbelievably grateful. They have given me such a valuable experience, not to mention being so kind to me. I wrote them a card and made them each a little piece of jewellery but I still don’t think they understand quite how grateful I am. I wrote to so many places trying to get work experience, and know how much competition there is. That means I also know how lucky I was to be given the chance, especially as I am younger than the interns they usually accept. 
This week was as good as the past three, perhaps even better if it wasn’t for the shadow of having to leave that hovered over me. On Monday morning I was sent down to reception to bring up the new intern. I remembered Alison greeting me on my first day and how nervous I felt. It seemed strange the way it had now turned around. The new intern was called Alex, like my sister, so I knew straight away she would be nice. She is in her last year at university studying French and English, which is what I would have chosen to study if I didn’t want to do fashion journalism. Smiley and chatty she has just got back from a year working in Paris at Hugo Boss and Diesel. I am incredibly jealous. Fashion, french and Paris - three of my favourite things. In the lift up to the fourth floor we talked about her work experience. It has long been an idea of mine to go to Paris between my A levels and starting university. I would get work experience in a fashion house, speak french and live in a tatty attic where I could hear traffic and the city under my window. Speaking to Alex this became not just an idea, but a plan. Kindly she offered to pass my name on to the people she worked with at Diesel, who she said are always looking for interns and who were lovely. I liked her immediately.
I spent this week showing Alex around and how things work. It felt strange to be the old hand, especially as she is so much older than me. It did give me a guilty confidence though, and showed me how much I have learnt here. 
The fashion team are starting on their January issue, so this week I was calling in lots of things. This involved phoning PR agencies and telling them the theme we needed clothes for. When bags full of clothes I had requested started to arrive addressed to me I could hardly contain my excitement. (In fact one of these bags is hanging on the end of my bed - it would only have been thrown away and the ‘Libby Page, Cosmopolitan’ makes me smile whenever I look at it.) As the clothes arrived we had to unpack them all, and hang them up in the cupboard in different sections. We were calling in for a sports story, and some of the clothes actually made me want to take up sport. I could just imagine myself in the colourful shorts, hooded jumpers and rainbow high tops with smiley faces on them. Some Stella Mcartney racer back vests were in the softest blush pink that it would seem a sin to contaminate them with sweat. Much better for sitting in the cafĂ© at the gym looking the part. As the week went on more and more bags and boxes of clothes arrived, until the cupboard was fit to bursting. Each afternoon when the post delivery man would come round with his trolley overflowing with bags we would pray they weren’t for the fashion department. But each time they would be tipped into the cupboard and I would find myself trapped amid piles of clothes. Of course, there are worse ways to be trapped. 
It gave me an interesting insight if I ever wanted to work in PR. Some companies sent in such a vast quantity of clothes that the fashion team couldn’t even begin to sort through them all. We ended up sending some of them back unopened. The companies that stuck closely to the brief and sent in a good but limited selection were the ones that ended up having clothes used. 
Jewellery was also being sent in for a sparkly christmas shoot. When jewellery arrived I had to photocopy it all and write where it came in from so that nothing got lost. As I opened one package I fell in love immediately. Sparkly and colourful earrings, necklaces and bracelets tumbled into my hand. One necklace had a pink glittery flamingo on a gold chain and seemed made for me. It even had a tiny ‘L’ charm at the back. I discovered, however, that this ‘L’ wasn’t for Libby, but for Lily Allen. The jewellery was part of Lily Allen’s jewellery collection that will be coming out in September. I am never one for celebrity endorsed products, it is safe to say the Lindsay Lohan range of fake tanning products was never on my wish list, but I think a flamingo necklace warrants an exception to this rule. 
One morning I was sent to Butler and Wilson to pick up a bag of jewellery. Stepping inside the jewel bedecked South Molton Street shop I felt my mouth begin to water. Tutti frutti crystals and an abundance of sparkle and I left with an unnatural desire to cover myself head to toe in rainbow diamanté. Clutching a pink bag full of jewellery that weighed a ton (who knew sparkle could be so heavy) I headed back to the office.
One day I went with one of the fashion assistants to a press day. It was interesting to see the relationships between pr companies and the press, and how both sides go about their jobs that are so linked but so different. 
On Wednesday my three week’s worth of packing and unpacking paid off, when I got the chance to write something. I had finished my jobs for the day and asked one of the assistants if there was anything I could do to help, when she suggested I write something for the Cosmo news page of their website. I jumped at the chance and was thrilled when they said they were pleased with what I had written, and then used them on the website.

The pieces may only be small, but for me it was an affirmation of what I have been doing. Obviously I have thoroughly enjoyed me month here, but having my pieces used on the website showed me exactly why I have spent the last month away from my family and friends, spending a fortune on food and travel and working 9 till 5 instead of spending the holiday lazing in the sunshine. It just shows me how things work - you work hard doing (at times repetitive) jobs, in order to get that little bit closer to what you are aiming for. 
A similar thing happened this week when the fashion director here sent a personal recommendation for me to the director of the fashion journalism course at the London College of Fashion, who is a friend of hers. Just that she would do that for me made me glow with happiness. I don’t want to get in to the London College of Fashion because I know someone, but then I realised I actually didn’t know anyone. I worked hard to do the book, then worked hard to get work the work experience, then worked hard during the work experience, and that is how things happen. 24 people apply to every 1 place at the London College of Fashion, so as I am writing my personal statement at the moment I am still gripped by fear, but at least I feel I have tried my best to get in. When I send in my application I will be terrified, as it is the only place I want to study, but I won’t be thinking ‘if only I had worked a bit harder’. My month at Cosmopolitan has been fabulous, but it has also been hard work. 
I had to fight back tears when I left Cosmopolitan on Friday afternoon. I said good bye to everyone and left laden with suitcase, goodie bag and memories of my month here. As I handed over my swipe card and the receptionist said it wouldn’t be the same without me I felt the lump swell in my throat. I can’t quite describe my sadness on leaving. I will miss the fashion team and the people I didn’t even know but smiled at every day. But the most difficult thing is coming back after a month of such independence and being so close to where I want to be. In a month you forget that you will be leaving again, and what came before and what must come after. I was so enthused and so absorbed that I almost forgot about my life before this summer, and also how far I have yet to go. Once you have a taste of what you want it is difficult to go back and carry on in the same way. But after this summer I have a focus that will hopefully help this year go more quickly. I know I am heading in the right direction, and that I want to get into the London College of Fashion more than ever. It may be difficult to get used to being home and going to school again, but at least I have been lucky enough to have had the experiences I have, and I can now use these experiences in my final year at school. 
This summer couldn’t have been better.


Thursday, 27 August 2009

new blog

I have started writing another blog - la mode and other things, so if you want to read more of my writing have a look. :)


Sunday, 23 August 2009

Week 3 at Cosmopolitan

I can’t believe how quickly 3 weeks have gone. Only five more days and I will be saying a sad good bye to the Cosmo fashion team, and dragging my suitcase out of the National Magazine House. I will miss getting the tube to work each morning, I will miss walking down Carnaby Street in the sunshine, I will miss the people here. I know to them I am just another intern, but I feel so indebted to them for giving me this opportunity and have grown fond of everyone here so will never forget them. I think the thing I have perhaps loved most of all over the past 3 weeks has been feeling part of it all; I have been inside the walls of one of Britain’s most famous magazines and part of a team. The fashion department here have such power, but they are still such normal, nice people. I am very aware that I have been extremely lucky - I am sure not all magazines are like this.

Another unusual thing for a fashion magazine - the office always smells of cake. People bring in cupcakes, battenburg and croissants which they sell each day to raise money for charity. There is also the infamous ‘light box’. There is a light box on one side of the office upon which people place things that are free to take. Unwanted beauty products that have been sent in to the magazine, chocolate brownies, maltesers... This week it has been covered in a shower of Kinder Buenos. I have never seen so many before in my life, and wonder whether someone won a lifetime’s supply but became so sick of them they donated the rest to the office.

One day this week as I was leaving for lunch I passed a crowd of smiling women at the leather sofas (which are used for informal meetings and charity sales of unwanted books and jewellery). They were holding a baby shower for someone who is soon to go on maternity leave. Everyone was laughing and eating mini jam tarts. Despite the abundance of cake the people who work here look dazzlingly healthy. I think it just proves that happiness and cake are much better for you than a diet of celery sticks and carrot juice.

Everything happens at such speed here, but in a quiet, efficient way. Without me really noticing the outfits for the Christmas edition had all been chosen, sorted and sent off to the studio to be photographed. Before I knew it I was packaging and returning bags and bags of shoes and party dresses. One day this week my desk became a pop-up jewellery shop, sparkling necklaces and bracelets laid out in every available space as I sorted through the jewellery that needed to be returned. As we return the jewellery we have to photocopy it all. One copy gets sent to the shop or PR company so they can check everything has been returned, and one copy is filed here. I walked to and from the photocopier, necklaces hanging from my neck and jangling on my arms. One necklace I photocopy costs £1000, an absurd amount of money in my opinion for a necklace that looks identical to one you could get at Topshop. I am pleased that the fashion team are of the same opinion; it isn’t elitist here and that is why I love the atmosphere so much. Saying that, last week I did return a £700 dress that was photographed for one of the issues. But it was entirely covered in gold metal sequins and was so beautiful that I didn’t feel at all hypocritical for falling in love with it.

On Wednesday this week it was just one of the fashion assistant and me in the fashion department. The fashion director is away on holiday, and the others were at a photo shoot, including Alison (the other intern). This was her last week so she was allowed to go along to the photo shoot - hopefully I might get to do the same thing next week. It was quiet in the office, and I had finished my jobs so spent most of the day answering the phone and taking messages. The quiet was good though as it gave me the chance to talk to the fashion assistant. She gave me some really useful advice and I left the office with lots of ideas about work experience to aim to get next summer. I can tell now it is going to be a busy summer between exams and (hopefully) starting university. I want to get as much work experience as possible, but also have an aim of going to France and becoming fluent in French. Hmm. But I keep telling myself that my problem really isn’t a problem - having too many plans and aims is so much better than not knowing what to do with my life.

Friday was Alison’s last day, and it will be so strange without her next week. A new intern will be starting, and I hope she will be nice, but it’s still not the same. I have so enjoyed having someone to talk to and go to lunch with for the past 3 weeks, and am so lucky that I got on so well with that someone. In a way it is a lot about routine as well. I have got so used to seeing her that it will be strange not to have her around, just like it will be strange to leave here at the end of next week.

A reminder of school came this week when I got my AS results. My mum went in to collect them for me, and I had planned on waiting to open them myself, but ended up asking her to open them for me and text me my results. I did well and was obviously thrilled, but in a way it didn’t really feel like the results were mine. This summer has been such a huge learning curve for me - I have been basically working 9 till 5 for 5 weeks - so I feel a completely different person to the girl who revised and sat her AS exams. That is why going back to school will be so strange. At times I have found the work experience overwhelming; there are no school bells to tell you where to be, and I don’t get to go home at 3:40, but it is real life, and every part of it has been an exciting new experience. And perhaps above all, I have enjoyed it so much. But then, I have been at school for 12 years already, so one more can hardly hurt.

At the end of the day on Friday I got the train straight to Kew Gardens where my mum was having the launch of her fifth book. It was a lovely evening; I felt so proud and was surrounded by friends and family. This at the end of a week working at Cosmopolitan and I felt fit to burst. I had to work the next day and at about 3 o'clock the last 3 weeks hit me and I felt dizzy with tiredness, but after a weekend at home I now feel ready for the big city again. Last week I changed homes and have been staying with a lovely family in Finchley. It makes the commute in to work longer, but it also feels nice to be staying with a family; it makes the homesickness for my own less.

I already know that next week will go too quickly, and that before I know it I will be on my way home again, but I just have to try and enjoy and make the most of it. Because that is what a Cosmo girl would do.


Monday, 17 August 2009

Week 2 at Cosmopolitan

I don’t know how I’m going to go back to school in 3 weeks time. On my way back home for a brief weekend of work and catching up with friends after my second week, I had a sudden realisation. It suddenly hit me that I am dreading my final year at school. It is a good school, I have lovely friends and I am happy with my A level choices - the majority of the time I am actually interested in lessons - but it is not where I want to be.

My second week at Cosmopolitan has been just as good as my first; better even. Sitting at my desk and answering the phone with the “Hello fashion?” that I copy from the other girls (my voice rising to a sugary pitch at the end of ‘fashion’) I feel oh so cool. After two weeks I now feel so much more confident. The first week was full of nerves and trying to catch up with Alison, who had already been here for a week, but now I feel more at ease and as though I know what I am doing. I have finally mastered my swipe card so have stopped holding people up when I arrive at work, I know where things are kept, the receptionist and I chat in the morning and the post delivery men know my name.

At the moment the Cosmo team are working on their Christmas issue, which means sparkle and lots of it. The fashion cupboard looks like a sequin factory or a feisty fairy’s wardrobe. Party dresses are crammed onto the rails in a rainbow array of ruffles, beads, and pailletes. It was one of my jobs to hang up all these dresses as they arrived in parcels and bags. I opened the bags greedily like a child on Christmas morning, eager to see what sparkly goodies lay inside and to feel the weight of the fabric in my hands. I spy a silver dress entirely covered in studs and beads that weighs a ton but looks like the kind of armour that would be worn by the most stylish female knight. One jacket is entirely covered in crystals that wink provocatively at me in the light. Some dresses are so extravagant that I could leap for joy . To me the range of styles and the flamboyance achieved in even the most high street labels are two of the reasons fashion is so exciting. A purple strapless dress from ASOS has a huge bell shaped wire skirt with purple ribbon following the seams so that it looks more like a sculpture than a dress.

On the floor beneath the dresses are rows and rows of shoes that we have unpacked and laid out. There must be at least two hundred standing there, as if awaiting a hundred pairs of manicured feet before they can clipclop off to the ball. Some of the heels give my stomach a shudder of vertigo, but they are nonetheless beautiful. Gold, strappy, patent, peep-toe, bows, crystals, royal blue, scarlet, hot pink, wedge, platforms...Some of my favourites are a pair of leopard print courts with a neon pink trim and heel which so shouldn’t be gorgeous but really are. Mountains of bags are piled along the walls; I love the little box clutches that look just the right size for a lipstick and iphone. A forward word of warning: if you’re not gripping a sequin clutch bag at this year’s christmas party, then you really shouldn’t be there. Daaarling.

I am sorry, it may only be August, but I am feeling incredibly Christmassy. But after a day in the Cosmo fashion cupboard I think even Scrouge would be humming Jingle Bells and having a craving for mince pies.

My favourite task this week was out of the office and on Oxford Street. Cosmo have a ‘style on the street’ page on their website, and I was lucky enough to go with one of the fashion assistants and find and photograph stylishly dressed people milling around Topshop. (The fashion assistant pointed out an inconspicuous looking man as the Abercrombie and Fitch model scout who stands against the railings opposite Topshop every single day.) The ‘style on the street’ pages in magazines are often my favourite, as I think fashion is so much about how people wear their clothes rather than just what appears on the runways. It also gives you ideas that you can actually use; anyone can tie a scarf around the handle of their favourite bag or wear a boob tube as a skirt instead of a top - not everyone can buy the latest ‘must have’ Balmain jacket.

Our theme was checked shirts, so we hovered outside Topshop and scoured the rush of people for a flash of checks. The fashion assistant would then approach them, and if they agreed, I would take their photograph. I was surprised how miserable some people could be. If it was me, I would be incredibly flattered and it would probably make my day. Nonetheless we found some lovely people and got some good photos.

Standing and seeking out checks for 45 minutes made me realise how little attention I pay when I walk down the street. I love clothes, so love checking what people are wearing, but when I stopped and did nothing else I realised I never really look at people. When I walk I am so busy thinking away to myself that Brad Pitt could probably walk past and I wouldn’t notice. But it is actually fascinating when you really pay attention. There were a few people who were dressed truly fabulously, and their outfits made me so happy that I was so glad I had been paying attention. It was like I had glimpsed a lovely secret that no one else noticed because they were too busy to stop and look. But perhaps I am just strange.

At the end of the week I was sent to Next and Topshop to pick up clothes for one of the fashion assistants. I felt very Anne Hathaway in the Devil Wears Prada going to the back entrance of Topshop and saying I was there to pick up a bag of clothes for Cosmopolitan. I love seeing places that no one else usually gets to, the bits behind the scenes. At Topshop the bags of clothes were kept in cage like rooms that I had to ask a man in a high vis jacket to lead me to. It’s strange that by being very unglamorous that somehow made it glamourous.

I have been kept very busy this week, and it makes me think what happens when there are no interns around. The journalists are so busy that they would never have time to do the little jobs that Alison and I have been set to do over the past two weeks. They are little jobs, but then they are also important, and jobs that need doing. I find that the answer to my question is that they don’t have to worry about this. There are always interns. One of the fashion assistants tells me they are fully booked from now until April. I feel slightly sick. Perhaps the most important part of this experience for me should be about making contacts and opening doors. But how on earth can I hope to make an impression when I am just another one of the many interns that come in through the door. I try my best: I have been the first in the office every day so far, I work hard and I smile. (I think smiling is very important.) Despite my attempts I can’t help feeling slightly disheartened, but on one of the days I am given some lovely encouragement from the fashion editor that lifts my mood. She said she thought I would go far as I had the right attitude and was clearly enthusiastic. I could have jumped for joy.

So far I have had a tiring, but surprisingly stress free time. That changed, however, on Wednesday. To keep a long story short, I made a mistake. When I was archiving the magazines I didn’t realise I was supposed to be keeping a second copy of everything, so threw away the spares. When I had finished the fashion editor asked me where the other copies were. I felt my stomach drop. I discovered these were the only hard copies she had, and I had thrown them away. I was mortified. I wasn’t shouted at, so it wasn’t the reaction I received that upset me so much; I just hate making mistakes, especially when they impact other people. I felt like I might cry or be sick. Thankfully I did neither. Instead I apologised and tried to find a way to go about fixing things. Luckily there is a room here filled with old copies of the magazine, so I got the key and climbed over the piles of boxes until I had found every copy I needed. I then went back and cut and filed everything again. I am still gutted I made the mistake, but everyone makes mistakes, and I feel pleased that I got on with it and managed to put it right. Hopefully this will count for something even if I wish I had been more careful.

Despite that minor glitch, I have enjoyed my two weeks so much. I love the atmosphere in the office and how lovely everyone is. But it has made me think hard about what I want to do. I love Cosmopolitan, but I have discovered that the main part of working on the fashion department is styling. Styling sounds fabulous, as I love clothes and creativity, but the thing I want to do more than anything is write. I want to earn my living by writing about fashion, and I think perhaps Cosmopolitan isn’t the right place for this, however much I would love to work here.

If I lived in London, had the time and money and didn’t have to go to school, I would spend the next year interning at as many different places as possible. I am so keen to get as much experience as possible to show me what it is that I am aiming for, not to mention the fact it is just great fun. I would love to gain experience on a magazine with more fashion articles like Elle, or a fashion blog where I could experience the fast pace I loved at the Evening Standard but whilst writing about fashion. I would also love to see what it would be like working at the fashion department of a newspaper. Although the buzz of ideas and places I want to work is a little confusing, at least it shows me I am heading in the right direction. I love fashion so much that it all looks just too fabulous - I want to do everything.


Sunday, 9 August 2009

My first week at Cosmopolitan

On Monday I started my first of four weeks work experience at Cosmopolitan. Similarly to the Evening Standard, some of the people that work here contributed to ‘Love Pink’ and they offered me the placement when I sent them a copy of the book. Usually you have to be 18 to get work experience here, so I was thrilled when they made an exception. 
On Sunday evening I arrived in Holland Park (where I am lucky enough to be staying with a friend of my mum’s) laden with bags and a suitcase that seemed filled with bricks. No, just my entire wardrobe. Working on the fashion department of a magazine I have to make an effort, so I don’t consider my mountain of clothes in the least excessive. 
Monday morning, and after dressing (opting for the same outfit as my first day at the Evening Standard) and eating a quick breakfast I get the tube to Oxford Circus. I walk down the chic Carnaby Street, past shops I remind myself to visit and onto Broadwick Street, finding myself in front of the National Magazine House. Opposite a London College of Fashion exhibition space and right near the lovely vintage shops and boutiques in Kingly Court, I feel immediately at home. 
Unsurprisingly, I am early and after being greeted by a smiling receptionist and handed my pass for the month I wait on a leather sofa in the reception. Whilst I am waiting someone comes and changes the huge floral display on the coffee table, and I watch as people come in through the front door and pass me as they head for the lifts. They chat about their weekends, sip coffee and smile at me, some gliding in dresses, others teetering in heels, and a few clutching bike helmets and rucksacks. 
At 9:40 a young woman heads towards me and says “you must be Libby”. She introduces herself as the other intern at Cosmo. She has already been here for a week and is in her final year at university studying fashion promotion and management. Despite feeling a bit intimidated by her, she is friendly and I feel pleased to have some company for my month here. 
The lift stops at the fourth floor and she swipes a pass like mine to push open the door. I am greeted by a huge poster of this month’s Cosmo as we walk down a corridor and into the office. Desks and macs fill the room and we walk to a huddle of desks in the centre, which is home to the fashion department. I meet and shake hands with one of the fashion assistants, the only person in the department who is in the office today, the others being on a photo shoot. She seems friendly and laid-back, and shows me to my desk. Everyone in the fashion department has their own area which they have each decorated with pages from magazines, photos, tickets, rosettes and other colourful bits and bobs, so that the computers seem to hover in a rainbow cloud of trinkets and photos of beautiful clothes. I immediately imagine my desk adorned with postcards, tags from my favourite clothes, pictures from Vogue and lots of pink things. When I arrive they are finishing the November issue, and proofs of the fashion pages are pinned to the wall behind the fashion department. I find it so exciting to see what will be in the issue so far ahead, and love the feeling of being inside and part of such a big and commercial magazine. 
After being shown to my desk I am led into the ‘fashion cupboard’. The word ‘cupboard’ is a bit of an understatement. It is a small room filled with rails and rails of clothes. The clothes are sent to the magazine by PR companies and fashion brands for photo shoots; for Alison and me it will be our job to return all the clothes to the right places after each shoot. We set to work straight away- there are a lot of clothes. Alison shows me how to sort them into piles, bag them up and then find the address to send them back to on the internet. As we work she shows me around the fashion cupboard. Clothes hung on the rails on the left side of the room are still to be photographed, all those on the left are to be returned, and the same applies for the bags of jewellery and accessories beneath the rails. All the clothes that have been bagged and have addresses written on them get put in a huge pile, which gets taken away by a courier every afternoon at 2. 
There are always things to return, so I have spent most of the week in the fashion cupboard surrounded by clothes. Perhaps that may seem monotonous, and I am told not to worry, that this is how everyone starts, but in fact the ‘surrounded by clothes’ part means I am more than happy. Most of the clothes are press samples that are not yet out in the shops, so I am given a sneaky glimpse at things I will want to buy this autumn. I am also discovering new brands that I haven’t heard of, like the jewellery make Eclectic Eccentricity who make quirky and romantic vintage looking jewellery (I am pining after a tiny gold envelope on a chain with a little letter inside inscribed ‘je t’aime’ - how cute). After sending back bags of clothes I am also getting an insight into the main PR companies and which brands work in alliance with each other. It is also interesting to see how the whole process works: magazines send a brief to PR companies, for example chunky knits for winter, the companies then send a huge selection of things that might be appropriate, which then get narrowed down, possibly photographed, and then returned. Along the way the PR companies need to be contacted for information about the products such as price etc. All these things may seem small, but I am so keen to learn how the industry works that to me they are incredibly interesting. 
On the second day I met two of the other members of the fashion team (the third being away on holiday this week), including the fashion director who is lovely. I am interested to learn that she went to the London College of Fashion, where I will be applying this October. I am struck by how down to earth everyone is here. The Devil Wears Prada is one of my favourite films, but I am relieved to find myself in an environment where everyone eats their lunch, chats to each other and you are not afraid of having your eye jabbed by a Louboutin heel in a cat fight. The Cosmo fashion department seems like a family, albeit a well-dressed one.
Although being in the fashion cupboard all day can be a little tiring, the organised side of me relishes the work. Some days this week when we had finished the returns and the fashion team looked too busy to ask for other jobs to do, we set about tidying the fashion cupboard. It seems Alison and I share a love for organisation. Once we had finished on the cupboard and all the rails were empty and all the shelves sorted, we sorted through the look books. Companies send in look books for each season which get filed alphabetically onto shelves. We made new sections for shoe look books and accessories, and threw away duplicate copies. At the end of the week the fashion director said the fashion cupboard was the tidiest she had ever seen it, and bought the whole department cupcakes to say well done. The compliment and the cupcake made me skip out of the office on a high, half happiness and half sugar induced. 
As well as enjoying my work experience, I am loving being in London. I go to lunch with the other intern, and so far we have been to a burger bar, Leon (a fab wholesome fast-food place), a falafel restaurant called Just Falafs (I chose it purely for its name) and a nice cafe. Living in a town where the only place to eat is the local tandoori the deciding where to go is almost as good as the food itself. 
In the evenings as well I have been enjoying being in a city. I watched Coco before Chanel at a fabulous cinema in Notting Hill where you can bring a bottle of wine into the old theatre with its rows of big velvet seats. I had never been anywhere like it before, and as I sipped wine and watched Audrey Tatou play Coco Chanel I wondered how anyone would ever get me back to my little town where the high street consists of charity shops and estate agents and the nearest cinema is a generic Cineworld 40 minutes away. 
This weekend I had the saturday off work (I work in a bead and jewellery shop), a rare luxury, and went to Cambridge to visit my sister. It was a perfect weekend and a nice dose of relaxation after a busy week in London. Although I was sad to leave her, as I pulled back into London and stepped onto the tube I felt surprised by a sense of coming home. 
I feel incredibly luck and am looking forward to tomorrow, and to the next three weeks as a Cosmo girl.