The Real Truth About Life In Your 20s

A perspective on life in yours 20s by yours truly (Olivia Dueser 💁🏼) - a single, white, unemployed female just trying to be distinctly average. 

This story is not a ‘woe is me moment’, nor a bleak rhapsody of pessimistic words. I just want to share what to expect when the unexpected happens – it’s ok to be in your 20s, unemployed and feeling unloved and average. Trust me when I say you are neither the first, nor the last to feel like this #staypositive.Society's expectations, Disney films and childhood literature do not prepare most of us for the harsh realities of life in your 20s. Nobody warns us that no matter how many frogs you kiss, Prince Charming is as likely to exist as you being killed by a vending machine (1 in 112 million). And ‘dream jobs’ are as likely to happen as you finding Prince Charming…Where is the Disney film where the girl doesn’t get her happily ever after? Where is the ‘Little Miss Unemployed' book? I am 26, single, unemployed, confused and going through my ‘quarter-life crisis’. I feel more lost and hopeless than ever. As I write this article late at night in my sexy silk pyjamas (scruffy may be more fitting), eating ‘Carte D’or Caramel’ ice cream from the tub and puffing away on my e-cig – and yes this is actually happening - I ask myself, ‘How on earth did I get here?’…Damian Barr, author of the book ‘Get it Together: A Guide to Surviving Your Quarter Life Crisis’ aptly describes your 20s as, “You’re expected to be having the time of your life but all is your do is stress about career prospects, scary debts and a rocky relationships.” Now just substitute “scary debts” for “spending money not saving ” and “a rocky relationship” for “perpetually single” and hey presto, you have the story of my life. Today I share with you two pivotal phases of my current existence: My Career (lack of) and love life (currently platonic loves rule my astrosphere).

Part 1

Unemployment is a Dangerous Occupation

From the company ‘going under’ to being ‘let go’; to quitting in a blaze of glory, to forever being an intern, or simply getting ‘fired’ – I have been there, done that, got the bloomin’ t-shirt. Unemployment is a convoluted state of reality…We have been brought up to pursue our passions, become the next thought-provoking leaders of the world, to fight for what we believe in and the world is our oyster. What they forget to tell you is that, that oyster is dodgy and not as open as it should be… It’s like we are doomed to fail from the start, because, what they do not prepare you at school for is failure. They do not tell you that it lurks at every corner or explain how you should cope when it attacks. To fail even once, does damage to ones psyche – years of therapy needed and perhaps could have been avoided, if maybe my school had spent less time on teaching me how to cook the ultimate roast or encouraging me to partake in important competitions such as inter-house ‘Harry Potter Quiz’ and more time on what to do when life isn’t going your way.Imagine day after day, week after week, month after month of one rejection after another – an ever reminder that you’re not useful, have no skills and can contribute nothing to society. Recently I have experienced a new rejection, one so dark that even the Dark Lord himself would be sent into a state of despair…ladies and gentlemen I present to you “not the right fit” for no reason rejection. They tell you that it isn’t because you’re not clever enough or sporty enough or young enough, no – somehow, even with a good degree from a good university, a financial qualification, fluent in two languages, sporty, creative, artistic, willing to work for free (no I am not bragging, merely highlighting my positive attributes in case any potential employers read this) you still “aren’t the right fit”…I feel like I’m Lindsay Lohan in ‘Mean Girls’ being told “you can’t sit with us” just for being yourself… #BeingYourselfIsntEnoughUnemployment also affects your relationships in ways you did not think possible. You are lead to a double-edged sword when interacting with your friends and family: if they don’t ask about how your job hunt is going, you think they don’t care and this makes you angry and anxious. On the other hand, if they do, that can lead to awkward conversations of why, how and that you might need to think of alternative paths – again you are angry and anxious – they cannot win, neither can you. You become massively oversensitive (not great for those, like me, who are already sensitive, dramatic hypochondriacs) and snap a lot more at your friends and family for no reason. You over think every little detail and situation in your life – situations which were not situations until you made it into a situation – even just writing that out makes me feel drained…you unintentionally make your life harder #Drama.Quick word of advice for the unemployed – try not to snap at your friends and family – this is when you need them more than ever and they are your lifeboat through this thorny journey…For all the cynicism I have been spouting in this article, I do have positive vibes and hopes for the future…Unemployment has inspired a period of self-reflection in me and I am learning a lot about who I am and that I’m capable of more than I think. And most of all it has taught me to use what makes you happiest as a starting point for your career search.

Olivia xoxo

To be continued..

Next week at the same time Olivia delves deeper into the dubiety of dating in your 20s.


Rosanna Lonsdale Lamps💡💕

Making flamingos copyThis week I had lunch 🍛with Rosie which was delightful.  We chose the King's 👑 Road as she borrows a rather fun office space there (I suspect full of other cool entrepreneurs 👧👦 , I am rather jealous!).  I was at school with Rosie, and about a year and half ago she decided to quit her super job in advertising 💯 and start her own company making lamps 💡 @rosanna_lonsdale.Rosie is one of these incredibly positive 👩 people, and is always genuinely interested in what you have been getting up to -  she always asks the good questions, the ones other people forget to ask and you always feel very at ease in her company.  So after a quick catch up (blogging ✏️, different career paths 📷 and, of course, love life💕 😉) we got down to lamps 💡💡.Rosie started making her marvellous lamps 💡 a year and a half ago, and her business is now in full swing.  She uses a decorating technique passed down to her by her Grandmother 👵which I think is rather nice. And she hand paints 🎨 all the lamps 💡 herself 👩, it was fascinating hearing her talk about this process.She starts with a glass vase  which she hand paints 🎨 and decorates from the inside.  The technique she uses is called Decalcomania, and each vase requires 3 layers of lacquer 💧 and 3 layers of paint 🎨 in order to achieve the perfect finish ✨.  She hand ✋ paints 🎨 each vase herself and it is amazing the time ⏰ and energy 👩 that goes into this very delicate process, particularly as every layer has to dry before another can be applied.  It took her a while to find the best paint 🎨 and lacquer 💧combination (there are all sorts) -  and the final result is fantastic, the lamps 💡 have a really wonderful lustre 💎.Once the 6 layers of paint and lacquer 🎨💧have dried, brass bases 🔆 are added, and they are all wired 🔌 up with electrics, so that they can be plugged into the wall etc (this part of the process hadn't even occurred to me, I was concentrating so much on how pretty they look 😍).  Rosie really focuses on the details, each lamp is fitted with a proper brass base 🔆 and a silk cord wire 🎐 , certainly not something easy to come by at a reasonable price 💰 anymore.She also provides the lampshades 🔔, which are silk, with silk linings and are all handmade in England.  You can have empire shape - gathered (more traditional) or rolled (modern)  - these are simple and very elegant, and sit perfectly with the beautiful bases they are standing on.  She is also planning on introducing ikat 💈patterned lampshades, so if you are looking for a bit more pizzazz 💥 in your lampshade, this will soon be an option.Most exciting for me are the designs 💕🌴. Rosie has an excellent eye and the designs are fresh, and fun, but not too invasive.  She started with flamingoes, and has branched out into zebras 🐎, humming birds 🐦, banana leaves 🍌🌴 and chillis among others - 9 designs in all.  You could quite happily have any of these charming lamps 💕💡 on your bedside table  and I think they would fit happily into both a traditional interior and a more contemporary one.  She also makes plain coloured 💙💛 lamps 💡(a particular favourite of mine is the coral orange 🍊), so if you are not a pattern person these are the perfect option.The really nice thing is that she does bespoke projects, so if you are wanting a lamp to match the colour tone of a newly decorated room 🔵, she is happy to do this for you.  Or if for instance there is an animal 🐩 that is particularly special to your, this works too (we might have to be encouraging a dachshund lamp soon Rosie 🐶😉).It was so intriguing to hear her talk about her lamps 💡💡, and starting her own business.  The whole process, from painting 🎨the lamps, to sourcing the parts 🔆, deciding on the designs 🌴, to selling 👩 all takes a huge amount of dedication and I am so impressed.  It is no mean feat to get a business up and running yourself, with such success so early on.Her first sale last year was at our old school 🏤 annual christmas 🌲 fair, and I love the idea of all the girls 👧 and their mothers 🙎eyeing up Rosie's superb lamps 👌💡💕.  I hope every school girl is demanding a Rosanna Lonsdale lamp 💡 for Christmas 🎅 this year!Alice xxwww.rosannalonsdale.comIMG_0850IMG_1467IMG_2223Banana LeafIMG_2320Flamingo @rosanna_lonsdalewww.rosannalonsdale.comPhotos by: Katrina Lawson Johnston

Another Wednesday

Yesterday I took a trip to the Saatchi Gallery 🎨, and had lunch in Le Pain Quotidien 🍞 with Rosanna and we spoke all about the wonderful lamps 💡 she makes.  I am going to tell you more about this in a separate post - but for a quick sneak preview check out her instagram @rosanna_lonsdale 💡, I just love the hummingbird 🐦 one!The Saatchi Gallery 🎨 was weird and wonderful (isn't it always), and I had a quick roam about.  It's all about women 👩👧👵 at the moment, and I liked Sandra Chevrier's painting 'La Cage se Laissant Absorber par une Nuit Réconfortante' - part of the XX: A Moment in Time exhibition of works by female graffiti 💹 and street artists 💟, from around the world 🌎.  The main exhibition Champagne Life was not terribly awe-inspiring, although I enjoyed Sigrid Holmwood's paintings, which have a hint of Matisse about them, with some impressionism thrown in - in bright bright florescent 💛💚colours.  I do love a good fluoro.  And I took a selfie with a large parakeet... 🐔However, really the best thing about the Saatchi is the gift shop 🍭✏️💝- they have many great things - but not TOO many, this key to a satisfactory gift shop experience.  I also highly recommend their card 💌 selection, they hit a very good note - not too crude 💩, not too many fluffy animals 🐶🐼 - just suitable messages and fun designs.I finished the day in Humble Grape 🍇which has lots of wines 🍷🍷that I wasn't drinking, but Alex who I was with knows a great many things about wine 🍷and had a lovely Rosso di Montalcino which she tells me is excellent 😊.  Humble Grape 🍇 is a really super little wine bar, with many wines and you can order things like biltong 🐗 and baked camembert 🍮 to eat.  James who was running late, rang ahead and asked us to order him a burger 🍔❌ and a glass of malbec 🍷❌ (neither on the menu, the malbec only comes by the bottle, not the glass) but if you are wanting an evening of good wine and substantial comforting eats this is the place 😊.Alice xxxIMG_2485IMG_2502IMG_2495IMG_2499IMG_2500IMG_2501IMG_2516

Chelsea Days

Sorry for being rather absent this week - I have been working - hurrah! (again 😊).I have been helping at the hush sample sale 👗👚👙- the last day is tomorrow, so I would get down to Chelsea Old Town Hall quick fast and get yourself some wonderful pyjamas 👘, cashmere jumpers 👕, slouchy tees 👚 and a whole bunch of other bits and pieces you will wear forever 👛👠👖 ☺️.The sample sale was fun - but 10am on the first morning was a little terrifying.  The parka wearing, ombre haired, hush loving ladies are a nice bunch (they were so pleased with their sample finds) but they are determined.  Very determined.  Not a snood lay unturned in the hunt for the last pair of cashmere wristwarmers.  My first customer to the till was a frightened man who had been sent by his wife to buy pyjamas - he really did look scared, and fled the moment he had paid, clutching his purchases, with mutterings of 'never returning ever again'... And I do get a little displeased with the ladies who try and bargain down even further - that jumper was £85 you are paying £15.  Please just appreciate how good a deal you are getting and don't try to haggle with me.  However, in general the sample sale customers seemed very pleased with their finds.  I got the Ascot dress 👗 in navy which I am very pleased with 😍.I had lunch with Grace, which was very nice indeed.  We went to The Grocer on the King's Road 🍏🍞 and got much needed coffees ☕️ and good things to eat.  We first considered L'Eto which look delightful - but £9.90 for a takeaway salad seems a little bit much even for Chelsea....Grace is a singer 🎶, and sings wonderfully (listen to her song Vapour Trails ☺️) and told me all about the video 🎥 she is about to shoot for her newest single 🎵, which is coming out early this year.  I am very excited.  On a side note, she is also going to come roller blading on Wandsworth Common which is magical 🎆 - Grace we will, one day, go to a roller disco wearing shiny leotards...I also found the most beautiful navy parka 🎽 ever, in Claudie Pierlot.  It's lovely, and I want it and it is reduced from £600 to £180.  I have however been incredibly restrained, the consumer in me -  'but you really need a nice warm, smart coat, and it's such a good price' has been quietened.  This was a massive hurdle and I did not fall.  At least not yet.  I have not bought the parka 🎽 - although almost everything (except my bank balance) is saying 'buy it, buy it'.  I will not.  But I am excited for all of you who do - they have it in burgundy too 😘A great thing happened yesterday - it was Tom's birthday 🎂.  And not only was it his birthday, but Chesca made him the best bath cake 🎂🛁 ever.  Yes.  A cake 🎂 in the shape of the bath 🛁.  It even had rubber ducks 🐥🐥, and a bath mat, and the tiling for the bathroom floor was made of white chocolate ◻️🍫.  I think Tom was happier with the bath cake 🎂🛁 than he was about the chocolate biscuit cake with cherries, and he really loves chocolate biscuit cake with cherries.  Happy Birthday Tom!!! 😊🎈  I also gave him a lovely David Shrigley card.... David Shrigley should make all cards for all occasions 😉.I am actually writing this whilst sitting on an aeroplane, as I am in Switzerland for the weekend - so super!!  I don't like planes, but I do like clouds very much and we have passed some wonderful clouds.Alice xxxIMG_1920IMG_1918_2IMG_1929IMG_1980IMG_1909IMG_1988IMG_1981IMG_1956IMG_2015_2IMG_2005IMG_2027_2

Peter Vaughan - All Over the Shop

Today I am veering from the path slightly, and will give you a detailed update of my weekend activities tomorrow.And instead, I am going back to Peter, musician and writer, who I met up with on Wednesday and to me, in my unemployed status is a breath of fresh air - I think he only asked me once how my job search is going, and instead very kindly allowed me to ask him all sorts of questions about what he gets up to.  For the record, he is completely not 'all over the shop' but he does love to use the expression 😉..So as I am writing this I am listening to Peter Charles Franklin Vaughan’s album 'The Road that leads to Love leads back out again', which is incredibly heart warming.Peter creates his own music - always melody first, lyrics second, and describes his music as 'traditionally folk'. He has recently written a song about the Thames and I really enjoyed listening to his explanation of this process. The song evolved first by creating a melody on the guitar, playing with chords and rhythm, trying to recall the sound of an English river - a recent reading of Jerome K. Jerome's 'Three Men in a Boat' was part of this inspiration. This led to further research on the Thames, and the incorporation of place names along 'The Devil's Highway' a Roman Road that ran from the bridgehead of the Thames. To Peter it is important that his music will 'translate infinitely' - it can be understood by everyone, and he always incorporates metaphors and adds an element of humour to his lyrics.I am not a particularly musical person, although I do enjoy listening (and dancing!) to music a lot, and it was really wonderful to hear Peter speak so eloquently about his process.Peter sings and plays guitar and has started performing his own music with a band - he is thinking of calling it 'Peter Vaughan & sons'. He also currently plays bass for both Lou E and Dregas. For Peter, performing live is an adrenaline rush, a chance to show off, and to make people listen to him - because if you can't say it in a song, when can you say it. I think it is incredibly exciting that he has spent the time teaching himself to create, write, and perform his own music. He only took up guitar aged 16 after hearing a friend play 'House of the Rising Sun'.Peter also writes, and recently won a prize for a short story 'Real Love' which I have just read.  It is incredibly poignant, a love letter to friends, and has a Kerouac-esque feel to it.  To me it is a quiet, but powerful homage to a new generation of artists, musicians and writers, united by a a deep, abiding friendship and mutual respect for each others endeavours.  He himself is very well read, Hemingway, Nabokov and Orwell were mentioned as people who have inspired him, along with the Albert Camus quote ' A novel is never anything, but a philosophy put into images'. We also spoke about Orwell's six rules on writing - I learnt rather a lot!We spoke about a few other things including dressing up - Peter likes to be able to laugh at his own appearance and is often changing his hair style, narcissism - he sees himself as a narcissist; his first tattoo - a memento for being part of the shoot for the band Formation's new single 'Love'. He really enjoys hosting and cooking for people (he is a vegan) and finally that he would like Daniel Day-Lewis to play him in a film about his life.Peter is one of these people who is entirely himself, and does not make any compromises. He speaks very eloquently about things that absorb him, and he is always interested in your point of view. For me it is really exciting to speak to someone who is wholeheartedly pursuing their passion, has veered from the unconventional career path, completely taken it in their stride and I am very excited for what is to come next 😊IMG_0716IMG_0715IMG_009812341547_10153601613585845_5361957211499214468_n