Can you believe it? Only four more days left of my placement. Four. More. Days. I can’t believe it.
I had planned to post every day this week as a kind of ‘placement special’ but I’ve been super, super busy at work the past few weeks and I may not be able to post every day as I had originally planned. But I’m sure you are all sick to death of hearing about my amazing placement. Well, sorry but you’re going to have to put up with it for a little while longer.
I finish this Friday and the majority of my spare time is going to be spent on clearing out my room because I seem to have accumulated a lot of things in the past 13 months, the majority of which I probably don’t need. Most of the things taking up space in my room are beauty products and magazines. I could start my own cosmetics store at this rate with a side of WH Smith.
This isn’t what I would call a serious post, more of a cheerful look back at the achievements, events and happenings of the past year – in numbers. It should make sense, bear with me. (The majority of this won’t be accurate, only estimates!)
10,000 cardboard boxes
If there’s one object to symbolise my time at Coty, it would have to be a cardboard box. Most of the time I’m drowning in them. Some days there will be no boxes, some days there will be five and some days there will be one hundred. Every time I hear the squeak of the Post-room trolley I squirm, dreading the boxes coming towards my desk.
Days when I’m carrying heavy boxes to and from the stock cupboard or for sending out, there is no need for the gym as unboxing products is a workout in itself, let me tell you.
It even got to the point I was starting to dream about cardboard boxes. I wish I was kidding. Perhaps one aspect of my job I won’t miss too much is seeing brown boxes in my sleep.
9,999 pieces of coverage
The best part of my job and the reason I do PR. There’s nothing I love more than seeing our brands featured in magazines, online or on social. I finally learnt this year that I can actually do PR. I can secure coverage for brands. No need to change career path just yet.
One of my main highlights from the year was seeing coverage that I had gained myself in ELLE, Red and VOGUE. I got coverage in Vogue. I think it’s time to quit. I peaked.
9,998 cans of Diet Coke got through
Nothing ever changes, does it?
6,000 screenshots of Instagram Stories
As much as I do love to post an Insta-story or five, I loathe the person who came up with the idea. Plus the idea that they only last 24 hours. I’ve sickened myself with Instagram having to constantly keep on top of Influencer’s Instagrams to see what they’re up to and whether they’re posting any of our products. It’s tiring. And I can’t wait to not have to do it for another while.
Although most of the time I love working on Instagram and seeing different content creations with our products or discovering new Influencers we can work with but sometimes too much Instagram can be a bad thing. I’m very much looking forward to switching off social media for a while once I finish. Lord knows I could use a detox.
1,000 skinny mochas from Starbucks
Apart from the shares I should have in Coca Cola, Starbucks should be another. It started off as a Friday treat along with a skinny blueberry muffin – if it has ‘skinny’ in the title it can’t be bad for you, right? – then it became a Monday morning pick-me-up as well as a Friday treat. Then after Christmas when the cold weather was at its peak, a mid-week pick-me-up was also needed. Three skinny mochas per week.
It used to be a carrot and stick approach when I went to the gym in the mornings. I would treat myself to a mocha after a workout. Then the morning gym sessions stopped, but the mochas were still bought.
999 times Starbucks spelled my name wrong
I’ve had every name under the sun when it comes to Wimbledon Starbucks. Orlet, Torla, Orlageh (almost), Ona and the most popular of all – Ola. With skin as pale as mine, I’m definitely no Spaniard. The painful thing is, 99% of the time I spell it out for them and they still get it wrong. I never bother with the ‘gh’ of my name. Their heads would probably explode with the confusion.
There are now two baristas that know me by name as soon as I walk in and no longer ask my name. They even apologise for the mispelling of my name when they’re on the bar and not the tills taking the names.
I would probably have a lot more money right now if I had kept to my Friday treat, or never got the taste for coffee in the first place.
924 magazines flicked through
This one I tried to calculate as accurately as I could. If we had ten monthly magazines coming in for one year, that would be 120 magazines (I’m sure there’s more). Then 15 weekly magazines (including the weekend newspaper supplements) for 52 weeks, not including the monthly and quarterly specials added in with those too, you would come to a grand total of 924 magazines. No wonder my fingertips are purple and laden with paper cuts.
800 glasses of prosecco and champagne drank
There used to be a rule on the kitchen wall of my first year university flat, ‘Orlagh isn’t allowed to drink Prosecco’. It never ended well. But this year I’ve made up for it twice over. I seem to drink Prosecco like I drink coffee – too early and too often.
There’s nothing like a glass of bubbly to make an event that little more glamorous. And there’s nothing more worthy of a Boomerang clink.
700 tram journeys
I don’t do very well with confined spaces, so rush hour on the tube would be my ultimate worst nightmare. Luckily I very rarely ever had to experience it. Living so close to work was a blessing and grabbing the tram every morning which takes seven minutes to get into Wimbledon was sometimes too easy.
Waking up at 8am and jumping on the tram at 8.50am was too convenient but amazing. I still always came into work exhausted.
100 Morrisons salads
When I started Coty I was introduced to the Morrisons meal deal. Never one to be disloyal (nothing could beat a Tesco meal deal for me), I was apprehensive. I had never shopped in Morrisons before. I don’t think I’d ever seen one before, let alone been inside one.
But low and behold, the salad bar of dreams. You’d think the salads would have kept me thin but when my main ingredients were couscous, coleslaw, pasta and sweet chilli sauce? Not so much. After eating one of the famous Morrison’s salads you’d think you’d just had a three course meal. This is before you have the snack and drink.
Since a few weeks ago Morrisons have copped on that they’re giving away so much for basically pennies so they’ve bumped up the price. Still worth every penny though. Never did I think salad days would be my cheat days.
75 celebrities spotted
It’s no secret I’ve met my fair share of celebrities over the past year. Whether it be just being in the same room as them, talking to them or videoing every single one of them for my Snapchat, everyone heard about it.
My top moments would have to be Ed Westwick turning up at the same party as me and being so close to me I could have touched him; Fist-bumping Craig David at the BRIT Awards after-party; Making eye contact with Dan Edgar while we both ate our dinner at the OK! Awards and taking a photo with Woody Harrelson and being an award mess in his presence.
20 bottles of perfume on my desk
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at perfume the same way again in the future. I’ll be trying to smell the top, heart and base notes, deciphering whether they have used Leather Accord or Cardamom ingredients. I’ll always have a fondness for the brands I worked on and every time I see a new campaign or launch I’ll automatically think of my team and how they’re handling everything – from the pre-series, the send outs, the ad visuals to store takeovers to editorial features.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to read a magazine the same way again without feeling a pang of sadness when seeing a great piece of coverage and not being able to get excited about it with my team. Some water has just appeared on my keyboard… where did that come from… Moving swiftly on.
15 movie premieres and screenings
Never one to turn down an invite to anything, especially when it comes to seeing movies before they are released in the UK, I’ve seen so many great movies this year. The best screening would have to be the European Premiere of Black Panther. Hands down. I went to a European Movie Premiere – me!!
Other great screenings I attended included McQueen (I will get around to a blog post about this, promise!), Thor Ragnarok and The Glass Castle. The female Oceans 8 just didn’t live up to expectations, did it?
14 pounds heavier – the Coty stone is real
I was warned about the Coty stone when I first started at Coty but laughed it off. Well, I’m not laughing now, put it that way. With so much free food always on offer and with the student mindset constantly imprinted in my brain, the ‘eat now so you won’t have to eat later’ line was said too many times in my head. But of course I still went home and ate later.
There’s always cake in the office since it’s always someone’s birthday. Or there’s doughnuts. Or someone went on holiday and brought back chocolate. Or there’s breakfast ordered in. Or there’s leftover Pret from a lunch meeting. There’s always food.
I went through various stages of having lots of motivation where I went to the gym in the mornings before work. This happened in the Winter. How? I have no idea. I can’t get out of bed before 8am these days and it’s already 25 degrees by then. Most days, I get up in the morning, go to work, become exhausted by 5pm then head straight home to lie down. And the cycle repeats itself.
This is probably the main reason I’m excited to leave my full-time job. So I can go back to my old university routine of always being on the go and always being in the gym. I’ll have the Coty stone off by Vegas, mark my words. I just need to think of how I’m going to cope with full-time work and exercise once I graduate and go back to work. I would say ‘I wish there were more hours in the day,’ but I really could get out of bed earlier if I wanted it hard enough.
13 months of continuously pinching myself
Every moment of my placement year has been a ‘pinch myself’ one. From the brands I worked with, to the events I was invited to, the people I met, the parties I attended and even some of the people I was on email to.
I know I say this quite often, but I never thought someone like me could work in a company such as Coty, especially not in the Luxury division. I’m pretty much the opposite of the term. But I proved to myself and anyone else that thought they couldn’t work in a job like mine, or attend the events I attended that it is possible and it’s only motivated me to go further and aim even higher.
I have never taken it for granted, landing my dream job. I just hope that I can achieve something similar in years to come.
6 god-awful hangovers
I used to think waitressing and serving someone their Sunday dinner while being horribly hungover was hard. But hearing a 7am alarm clock and trying to make it in to work for 9am while trying not to pass out on the tram or be sick in the queue for Starbucks was definitely a lot harder.
These were very rare occasions, mostly the mornings after the awards ceremonies we attended (they always seemed to be on a work-night) and another time the morning after my 21st and then the last was the time I made the huge mistake of going out on a Tuesday night – a mistake that was never replicated.
What I have learnt from these six painful mornings of looking like a zombie and feeling like I should be hooked up to a drip, is that drinking on a work night is never worth it.
5 glitzy award ceremonies
Attending my first awards ceremony – the GQ Men of the Year Awards – felt like a dream come true. I was wide-eyed in awe the entire night. I didn’t feel like my life was real. You may think I’m over-exaggerating but I’m really not. For me to be in a room full of celebrities was like winning the lottery. It was everything I had seen in the magazines and online for so many years, and here I was, in the thick of it.
Then came the OK! Awards walking in behind Joey Essex, Dan Edgar and Diags and I could have fainted and fallen down the stairs right then. I accepted an award from Amanda Holden that same night and spoke to Amber Turner about her dress. Peter Andre also walked past our table. It was surreal, but I loved it and hoped my life could stay like this forever.
A few months later and I was attending the BRIT Awards after-party. The cherry on top. My life had peaked. Nothing could ever beat it. I wrote an entire blog post about this as I’ve watched the BRIT Awards religiously every year and here I was attending the after-party with a lot of the celebrity musicians. This was my first look into the music industry that I had longed for ever since I started thinking about my future career.
4 amazing mentors
I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better team, or four better people to learn from. I don’t want to go into too much detail yet as there will be another post coming up about my amazing team, but seriously. There’s a reason my team was the only one not to change the entire year I interned – me (I’m kidding) – and it was because we were such a tight team and worked so well together. And most importantly, as much as we complain and moan about different things, we love the brands we work on and we love what we do.
3 friends for life
All of the girls I started interning with will always be friends for life, but during my time at Coty there were three people that made my experience that extra bit special. The polar opposite trio, consisting of me, Annie and Alice – opposites in so many ways such as a blonde, a brunette and a strawberry blonde (I won’t say ginger); an Irish, a Brit and an International (is that ok?); and two celeb obsessed with someone who doesn’t know her Joey Essex from her Joey Tribbiani; two who live in Chelsea (so you say Alice) and me who lives in Croydon #massive. The three best friends.
I’ll also miss my work wife, the most unphotogenic person there is (so she says). Who’s going to keep me stocked up with bottles of fake tan so I can look as tan as her Greek self? Miss you already 🙁 Fresh.
2 visits to London Fashion Week
Me at London Fashion Week. Who’d have thought. It was everything I thought it would be. If you don’t get the chance to go, it’s really worth it to hang outside the venue over the weekend as you’ll never see outfits like it. You’ll know when London Fashion Week comes around as so many extravagant outfits start popping up all over the city.
Now that I’ve ticked off London Fashion Week from my life Bucket List, I’ve had to add on Paris, New York and Milan. A girl can dream, right?
1 hell of a year
I don’t think there’s much to exaggerate on this one. If you’ve read all my previous monthly round-ups, or followed my year on Instagram then you’ll know everything that I’ve got up to.
Will there ever be a year like it again? I really hope so, but this one will be hard to beat.