Holland – Week one

So much has happened in the week that I really ought to note down my experiences before they overwhelm my capacity to remember anything.

Settling in

My first few days in Den Haag entailed settling into the area as well my new home – my family have gone to such an effort to make me feel at home and I feel very blessed. I’ll admit however, it was daunting to know that if I stepped out of the front door I could and would get physically lost at any given moment –  through my lack of being able to recognise familiar areas and so forth – something I will now never take for granted. Occasionally I experienced an almost unsettling feeling staring out of my window to a row of houses that I was not used to – in a matter of seconds you can feel so insignificant when you realise where you are, however when your sense of ‘home’ is so flexible, this feeling tends to settle quite quickly. If we never made the decision to get lost and explore, then as human beings, we would not advance or discover – a saddening thought.

A couple of days in, I met with an extremely pleasant recruiter, to be told that there wasn’t anything suitable for me as of yet – I’ve already discovered that i’m less ‘business minded’ than majority of people in Den Haag. In my opinion, the sectors tend to favour the financial, I.T or marketing areas. Nonetheless, I will simply extend my search to other cities such as Amsterdam and hope for the best rather than giving up hope already – why bother taking the easy way out when I have come this far? In terms of potential and wonder, Den Haag has heaps and that is something that fills me with joy.

My first job

So a few days in, a close friend of my Aunt’s kindly offered me some work at a cycling event due to be taking place in Belgium (another adventure, why not?!). One of the options was to get a train down over the weekend and work the Sunday shift behind the bar (whilst losing a days work for Saturday), or alternatively I could travel down with the family in the car, staying with them from Thursday through to Monday – when I would get a lift home again. It was a slightly strange and intimidating feeling thinking about travelling for two hours in a car with a family that I had never met, to then stay in their family home for a further 4 days whilst I worked for them. I took the latter option in order to save money and avoid potential hassle that would arise through taking a train in a new place. So, I bit my lip and did it – ‘just think of the money, you need this’ I told myself.

image6 The house was ‘in the middle of nowhere’, yet absolutely breathtaking. It had a very minimalist feel with floor to ceiling glass windows and doors displaying the stunning garden, backing onto a forest. The first night I was left to get to know the teenage boys whilst their parents attended the first parts of the event. In a way, this was great because all boundaries were knocked down – on a human being level, I feel that we communicate more efficiently in a more relaxed environment. However, waking up in the morning in a stranger’s home evoked that intimidating feeling that I had initially experienced. The boys were called to breakfast so I hesitantly followed not knowing if this included the new/strange house guest. In the next room they had set a place for me at the table – I exhaled slowly and remeasured myself that this was all going to be fine.

Over the next few days, I was able to chill and enjoy the family set-up, whilst meeting countless additions to the family over my stay – they were a very welcoming unit and I felt as if I simply slipped in with them, no fuss or frills about it. The Sunday event incurred a 5am get up time which was painful to consider, but necessary. I’d like to just add that I’ve never had a bar job, nor spoken Dutch or Flemish at any point in my life and because of this, I was hesitant to actually consider the reality of the job – instead I pushed it to the back of my head. I ensured that I could at least count to three in dutch (if anyone wanted more than three drinks, good luck to em’) and tried to recollect the words for wine, beer and so on.

Eventually, the 12 hour day ended, which allowed myself to contemplate the fact that I’d just worked behind a bar in a country I’ve never been to in a language that I’ve never spoken – it was a proud moment where I was able to reassure myself, ‘if I maintain this attitude, things will work out’.

Here’s hoping…

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working the event in Belgium

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Which direction and how?

Do you ever sit and look at the people that surround your life and wonder how things will work out for you? For the most part, the common element which seems to become all too familiar for many people in my life is stress and this is something that like everybody else, I want to stay away from, because once stress grabs you, it becomes difficult to escape from.

I’m at a very delicate time in my life where I will probably hover in some kind of unemployed limbo where I yearn for my previous student life and although it provides reoccurring pangs of excitement, it also teases me with occasional fear. Yet to be tainted by the world that I hear so many complain of, I’m essentially going into this with my eyes closed and my hands spread in front of me.

My issue is the fact that I don’t have a plan. Employment wise I don’t know what I want to do or how I’m going to get there. I know that there are many others exactly like me, but the thing is that secretly, deep down, it seems that even these cheeky gits have some sort of direction. I like to see my situation as a positive one and one that will provide excitement and opportunity.

Often life throws you things that you cannot change and the skill is in how you handle this situation. For every path that ends, there is a new one being laid for you, paving the way for an alternative route – like a personal sat nav. Once I can fully embrace this concept, I feel that I may be able to deal with the uncertainty and in turn, appreciate it.

This track by Johnson & Jonson fits my feelings pretty well. Take a listen…

Day Four of my Good Housekeeping internship

This morning felt very productive as I had my jobs prepared from the night before, whilst my editor would be away attending press events for the first part of the day. The sunshine was out and I was in fab mood!

I carried on with a bunch of returns to PR companies, bopping around to the radio. Throughout the morning the emails were flooding in, so I carried on working on our new Editor’s choice theme. It’s funny how quickly you can settle in to an environment that was once deemed as absolutely menacing a few days before. There are a couple of guys in the post room who are really chatty, so every now and then when I get a visitor I get a bit of company! To be honest, I quite enjoy being stored away in the fashion cupboard as I’m a very shy person, so I can get on with my jobs in here, whilst having my own freedom.

Although not a huge amount is occurring for me to get involved with, this internship has been productive in a sense. I’ve been able to experience the environment of a prestigious lifestyle magazine, whilst understanding how fashion shoots and web features work, which is something that I am interested in. You need to be very organised in the fashion cupboard as PR companies and fashion labels send their stock out left right and centre – So you must keep track of where it came from as many brands can represent similar labels. Plus, as soon as they request the stock back you need to 1. Source the stock and 2.Send it back as soon as possible. This is much easier with clothes but with the jewellery it seems to be sufficiently more difficult when keeping track of what belongs to whom – especially when the labels fall off!

How does it all work?

From what I understand, the fashion cupboard must first request the stock from the fashion label or PR Company for a shoot or a feature. This must be done well in advance in order to be as prepared as possible – this would involve requesting the correct sizes and styles for the models being used as it’s obviously not a ‘one size fits all’ job. Once the stock has been used, it is returned to the fashion cupboard and stored away. Then the stock would be packaged and sent back as soon as possible or as soon as the brand requests it to be returned. As you can imagine, the fashion cupboard gets filled up pretty quickly, so I can understand how important it is to keep track of everything!

Target audience

Another important aspect that any magazine needs to consider is who they’re aiming their features at. With Good Housekeeping magazine, their target audience tends to be more mature women who still maintain fabulous wardrobes. As a result, the brands used need to be suitable for the audience. So, it’s quite interesting to see the variation in clients for this audience.

 

Day two of my Good Housekeeping internship

Day two was less eventful unfortunately. Due to a transition of editors (one going on leave and one returning), there was less that needed my assistance. So I began checking the emails and adding on to the tasks from the previous day.

Later on, I had the task of emailing different PR companies in the hopes of acquiring exciting press opportunities that the magazine could potentially use for the June issue of the magazine. In the afternoon, I completed the odd task, such as pulling statement necklaces for the editor.

Today was quite placid – I was sent home at 4:30 as I wasn’t really needed, which was a little disappointing because I was so eager to throw myself in. It seems that the week I have arrived just isn’t very good timing as nothing seems to be really occurring that I can get involved with, other than day to day tasks.

One thing I have learnt is how much preparation is involved with running a magazine. With the features that don’t need individual photo shoots to be scheduled (using pr content instead), they can be left to be planned for a later date – the magazine is currently preparing the features for the June issue at the moment. However, if the feature needs it’s own photo-shoot, the magazine needs to be prepared further in advance – the magazine has just finished shooting for its September issue. This is definitely an interesting aspect, as in have always wondered how a magazine manages to constantly have content in time for the release.

A new editor is in tomorrow, so hopefully I will have the opportunity to step up my game a little.

Day one of my Good Housekeeping internship

I tend to push aside any emotions I have that pose as daunting because if I confront them, it’s like ripping the entire top off a can of worms. Today I felt incredibly anxious about my internship with Good Housekeeping and the longer I had to contemplate my nervousness, the worse it got.

Upon arrival, I sat in reception bolted upright. Awaiting the arrival of the fashion editor who would be looking after me for that week, sipping my second coffee of the morning (which I would come to regret later). After a short while, I was greeted by the editor. She was young, pretty and effortlessly chic. This immediately removed some elements of anxiousness, as her casual aura relaxed me into thinking that this wasn’t going to be like my other internships. Her outfit boasted the kind of thing that I wished I could pull off – a loose fitting, yet flattering striped jumper, paired with black ripped jeans, pulled up black socks and new balance trainers. This look was pulled together with her ruffled wavy hair and smudged, smokey eyes.

After collecting my pass, the fashion editor took me into my office for the week – the fashion cupboard. The cupboard literally did what it said on the tin. The editor then showed me to her desk down the hall and explained in brief, some of my tasks for the week. The instructions flew at me, ricochetting off my brain. I tried not to panic as I realised this environment was all new to me and I thought I’d catch the hang of it eventually. As I resided back to my office it felt reassuring that I had this calm environment (even if it was a cupboard) all to myself – I felt relieved.

I spent the good part of my day, contacting PR companies for imagery for the August/September editors choice feature. This involved sourcing the appropriate companies through a directory and contacting the correct PR rep. Eventually I got the hang of bouncing back numerous emails and my day flew by. Luckily the telephone is broken for now – I’ve been warned about the numerous customer enquiries and complaints that the department get faced with!

The location is fab, sitting right on the edge of Carnaby street. So far, so good. Tomorrow is a brand new day so who knows what it will entail!

#intern

Tomorrow is the first day of my week long internship with a brilliant magazine! I’m very excited, whilst being extremely nervous. As a socially awkward being, I’m kind of hoping I’ll be thrown into a bustling office and forgotten about for a while – whilst learning important skills of course!

In all seriousness, I’m so excited to get behind the scenes of a fashion publication. I can’t wait to see what it’s truly like to work for a magazine, as it’s something that I’m seriously thinking about becoming involved with at a later date.

I’ll definitely keep you posted this week with my endeavours!

Hope you all have an exciting Monday too!