I have always been a planner.
When I was a little girl, I would sit in my room and plan my future life, imagining myself as a beautiful 20-something year old woman with an extensive designer wardrobe, weekly blowdries and manicures, a kick-ass job that I loved, a handsome boyfriend with whom I would go out to fancy dinners (I have totally nailed that one!), eat healthy picture-worthy meals in my penthouse apartment in New York and planned lush holidays to Monaco, the Maldives and Lake Como.
Ok, so 9 year old me was a bit of a dreamer, and had absolutely no clue.
As I grew up, I realised that the things I wanted would take a hell of a lot of hard work to achieve (including my wonderful relationship with my oh-so-handsome boyfriend), so I began trying to figure out how to get there.
I’ve been a creative soul ever since I watched my first TV commercial, and fell into the Advertising and Marketing world as soon as I graduated, which fit me like a glove. I had a huge passion for all things beauty and fashion, so I started reading up on my favourite designers and discovered big name publications such as Vogue, Porter and Vanity Fair to satisfy my hunger to learn about the latest trends and pieces off the Runway.
You can only imagine how obsessed I was with The Devil Wears Prada. (HINT: A LOT.) It was my go-to movie after a bad day – and still is to be honest.
I really thought it was onward and upward from there. Oh, how wrong I was. I soon realised that I didn’t want to work in the field I was currently in forever. A Fashion Marketing or PR role would have been great, but in Western Australia it was near impossible to find. I loved writing, so maybe I could write about Fashion and Beauty? Clueless, I bought a domain, and started a blog. I loved it. After 6 months of blogging on the weekends and every day after work (I worked a 9-5 job, and still do!), I decided to take it seriously, and make the move to the UK to become a professional Blogger and now I juggle both my blog and my job in Fashion Marketing and I love it.
LESSON 1: You are still going to be figuring things out in your mid 20’s. It’s ok not to know exactly what it is you want to do, or to realise you are in the wrong industry completely and start again doing something you love. No matter how young or old you think you are. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life doing something you hate every day. Don’t settle.
The decision to move halfway across the world was a huge one. I needed to save every penny to make it happen. Which brings me to my next point. Money: where does it all go? I checked my account, and apparently it mostly goes towards food, clothes, and transport and I feel like everyone I talk to has the same issue. Say goodbye to the Maldives and Monaco holidays, 9 year old Julia. You are dreaming.
Harry and I booked the cheapest non-refundable one way ticket to London on the spot (so we couldn’t take it back and chicken out), and then sat down to work out how much we would need to save to be able to focus on our dream careers as well as moving to a different country. It was lots. Lots and lots of money, and we only had 6 months.
LESSON 2: It’s ok to have big dreams, and nothing is unrealistic if you want it enough. Write up a spreadsheet and dot down your everyday expenses. What is essential? What are you wasting your money on? Where could you save some more money? Is it getting less take-out food and cooking healthier meals at home? Is it walking to work instead of getting a bus or a train – or paying an exuberant amount of money on petrol? Should you be buying home brand instead? Figure it all out, and put away money into a separate account as soon as pay day comes around. Then, pay bills first and whatever remains is yours to spend.
PRO-TIP: From the remaining money, set aside a certain amount for different things. For example, £10 a month for your next car service, £25 a month for your manicure and so on. That way, all important things are taken care of, and when your nails feel like they need some love, you won’t have to look under the sofa or in your handbag for long-lost coins.
Harry and I landed in the UK 3 months ago, and the living situation hasn’t been exactly ideal. We waited 2 months before we found a place to live, and only just moved in a few weeks ago. Our current place is stunning and spacious, but it’s going to take a while to find somewhere that truly feels like home.
I left home when I was really young, and looking back, I wish that I had stayed with mum rather than moving in with a group of friends, with the illusion that it would give me more freedom.
However, I have learnt a lot since then, such as doing my own washing, cooking, and doing my taxes. Thanks mum, for all those years of free labour! I still remember my first attempt at a load of washing. I put all my clothes in together – colours, whites, darks and delicates – on a hot wash, and put the softener where the detergent was supposed to go and vice versa. I ended up with very colourful, shrunken, ruined clothes and had to say goodbye to my favourite pair of Victoria’s Secrets.
I still make mistakes, even though I thought I would have it all figured out by now! I recently mistakenly put a blue towel in with my whites (what was I thinking) and am now the proud owner of a light blue lace bra and matching socks and nickers (hey, at least they match!).
I somehow even managed to burn a boiled egg once!
LESSON 3: It’s ok to have no clue. Life is a learn-as-you-go thing, and errors are permitted! You might have to throw out a few bits of clothing and some not so edible food every now and then, but that’s life! Shrug it off, and keep going.