Life Updates: My Career Makeover

Just a few short months ago, I was living what could be viewed as a 'cool' life: a job in fashion, an office in a hip London area, fashion event invitations and a stellar salary. I worked in a place where the fridge was always stacked with free food, yoga lessons were free twice a week and the computers were sleek, brand-new Macs. Life was glossy.

But I felt hollow inside. I dragged myself out of bed in the morning and sleepwalked through the day with only the thought of  my side project, Vilda, to keep me going. The hours were excruciatingly long and my head and eyes ached so bad from all that staring at a screen that I couldn't sleep well at night. The commute was a nightmare and it was the first time in my life that I'd failed to make any friends at work. Many days I thought that if I were to leave this job today, the only thing I'd miss were the two office dogs. Even so, these were just minor details compared to how devoid of meaning my job felt (to me - this is a personal reflection and other people might love doing this kind of work, in which case, more power to them). I kept pushing away the constant niggling voice that reminded me that my contribution to the company didn't really matter, and even if it did, all we were doing was sell products. Products we didn't even make. Products that weren't unique, interesting, useful or good for the planet. Call it 'luxury' (how I hate that word), but ultimately it's still just stuff, stuff we don't need.

And it wasn't the first time I'd ended up in the 'safe' trap and taken a job in an industry I'd fallen out of love with. When living in Milan two and a half years ago, I finally fled from a similar job after one day when I almost started crying at a press event in a designer's showroom, out of sheer misery over how empty and superficial it all was. I thought I'd made a breakthrough that day - yet, a year later, there I was in London doing the very same job, and more similar experiences followed. I figured that this was what I did now. This was my lot in life: I had studied fashion, made a CV for myself in this field and now I was stuck with it. No one in my dream industry, charity, would ever hire me, since I had no experience was and was too old to intern or be an assistant. So on with fashion I trudged, even if it made me unhappy.

I kept doing this to myself, again and again, until recently, when things got so miserable that I had to wake up. I realised that I needed change. I no longer wanted to tell people what to buy. I needed to be a part of something that really made a difference.

And so I reached for something new, grabbed an opportunity with both hands, which I will never regret. I meditated on it and asked the universe to help me find a path that was far from that heavy undercurrent of emptiness that I'd felt for years. And a glittering opportunity presented itself, one that I never thought could be mine, but when I saw it I went for it. I figured I had nothing to lose - in the end, I could always go back to fashion. The moment I got the news of my new job offer, I felt like a huge weight had fallen off my shoulders and a door to a new life was opening up.

Today I work with an amazing team dedicated to saving animals - all that I've ever wanted to do. I get up every morning energised and enthusiastic about work. Monday mornings feel like a fresh new start and that pit of anxiety in my stomach is gone. I love my new team and how tight-knit we are. I thoroughly enjoy seeing how we all work towards the same goal, which is not about selling calfskin bags but about saving the actual calf! This new adventure is filled with challenges and lessons to learn, but somehow I feel less discouraged when I hit a roadblock. Because this time I care about doing my very best - not just because I have to, because it's my job, but because I genuinely want to.

On this Bank Holiday Monday, I look at my life and I can't believe it's mine! I have the most amazing, rewarding job I could ever want. My magazine is blossoming.  I live in the most vibrant and exciting city on the planet and am lucky enough to share a lovely flat with a wonderful crazy genius musician that I'm married to. I have amazing friends and get to travel a little bit - not as much as I'd like to, but still.
I finally feel like I'm living the life that was missing before. Just because I followed that stubborn feeling in my stomach that told me to create a life that felt truly mine. 


Review: VeganCuts Beauty Box

I love box delivery services. Whoever came up with the concept of a surprise box of goodies that arrives in the mail every month was a genius - among bills, bank statements and other little nuisances that make opening the post stressful, box delivery services are a welcome pick-me-up. Especially if they're made with love and expertly curated, like the ones available at VeganCuts.


Vegan in Verona: La Lanterna Restaurant

While living in Italy, I often thought about going vegan but the lack of available foods, ingredients and restaurants were an obstacle. I'm not saying these things mean you can't be vegan in Italy - you can and many people are, and were at the time I lived there - but it makes it this much harder. That's why I'm so happy that every time I go back, I find new options for vegans.

Case in point: La Lanterna restaurant in Verona. This cosy eatery with a rustic feel is tucked away just off the centre of this gorgeous, historic town of North Italy. I ended up there on a day trip to Verona to visit my best friend, who lives with his girlfriend in front of the restaurant (lucky them. I'd never eat anywhere else) and offered it as the designated lunch place for the day.


One Bag, Two Ways: BAREL Ethical Luxury

It's a bit uncharacteristic, really, that this blog is called Coffee and Heels because I'm actually more of a bag girl than a shoe one. Most of the items on my 'one day...' fashion wishlists are bags and few fashion purchases have the power to give me the same rush of satisfaction as a new bag. A bag is more than an accessory. It's one of few objects of fashion that is trusted with an actual function - and offering space for one's entire world is no small feat. Therefore, when a bag becomes part of my day-to-day repertoire, it's because I've fallen in love with it.

This green Camera bag was sent to me by the lovely Marta, Creative Director of BAREL Ethical Luxury - an Italian brand that unites the comfort of a truly luxurious material with a sustainable, kind philosophy.


Cooking in Heels: Cheap and Easy Vegan Brownies

Disclaimer: this is not a food blog for a reason! I have never followed a recipe in my life and I have no idea about measurements and quantities - I just whack it in there and taste my way to (mostly) satisfying results. So, this is not an actual recipe. Just something to get inspired by and try out.

This is my go-to dessert for when I have no money but am craving something sweet (which is all the time). This is the quickest, easiest and cheapest recipe I've ever tried and it's always proven a success.


Who Made My Clothes? Coffee and Heels + OUTSIDER Fashion

When I first started working on 'veganising' my wardrobe, I must admit I paid little attention to ethics other than animal-free materials. I was beyond happy to find out I could keep shopping my favourite high-street styles while staying vegan. Primark is full of faux leather shoes - brilliant. Zara's polyester blouses? Amazing. I kept whizzing through shop after shop, filling up my carrier bags, not giving a second thought to where my clothes came from - and who made them.


Earth Day event by Bourgeois Boheme at Fashion Conscience shop

As part of yesterday's Earth Day celebration, I was invited to the Fashion Conscience shop in East Dulwich for the presentation of the new Bourgeois Boheme collection of gorgeous vegan shoes.

I'm sure any vegan will agree with me that the choice of amazing cruelty-free shoes has really skyrocketed over the past few years. All of a sudden, we're spoiled for choice, and some of the most innovative brands are popping up close to home, as is the case with BoBoheme, a London brand offering colourful and utterly wearable cruelty-free shoes steeped in the philosophy of Slow Fashion - these are shoes that are built to last.