One year on: moving to Munich.

All photos taken on an expired disposable camera I bought as part of a job lot on ebay.

As my alarm went off at 9 (promptly snoozed, last night's optimism seemed misplaced), I couldn't help but think "thank god it's not this time last year" when I woke up at 4.30 for my one-way flight to Munich. Seeing as I never published a post immediately after returning from my six months abroad, I thought that now would be a good a time as ever to sit down with a rather large cuppa and get talking about what was, to me, quite an important chapter.

Why did I intern in Munich?

It'd be a downright lie to say I'd always wanted to live in Germany. I studied German from year seven right up to A Level (where changing school for sixth form killed my passion for the language as I was stuck with a teacher who didn't particularly inspire me). I'd considered studying English with German at university but I didn't get the grades so stuck with straight English and the rest, as they say, is history. After graduating and its inevitable "what the hell am I doing with my life?" panics, I started looking around for alternatives to the London-based internships and jobs I'd been looking at, and saw that Stylight was looking for british interns.
I had never even considered moving abroad (having no money and no fluency does that to a girl), but a skype interview later I was their newest SEO and online marketing intern and was looking at easyjet flights and downloading the dict.cc app. I knew little about Munich other than it was the capital of Bavaria, home to Oktoberfest and, you know, was Hitler's city of choice (perhaps apt to bring this up on Remembrance Sunday, bear in mind that Munich's moved on a lot since), so touching down in Freising was the start of a learning curb that lasted me through right till the day I returned to the UK.

How did I prepare for the move?

In a word? Badly. If you plan to intern with Stylight, bear in mind that they don't give you much time to move over there - I think I initially had three weeks - but I managed to put off my start date by a week using the excuse that flights were cheaper (lol, no, I had tickets for Knife Party's Haunted House which I was not going to miss). I knew that Kavita was out there, so I sent her a tweet, we started emailing, and she completely reassured me and helped me out a load, and is now someone I'm lucky enough to call a friend. I'm not a planner, and this move wasn't any different. Most people say that I was pretty brave to move to Munich on such short notice, but it's more likely that it was a heady mix of not having much on and sheer stupidity; that said, I don't regret doing it at all.

What was interning at Stylight like?

Just a little disclaimer here, a fair bit's changed since I was there, so I'll keep this bit short and stick with what I know.
Stylight's offices are based in Neuhausen, which is a little bit West of the city centre. Stylight HQ is absolutely amazing, with plenty of natural light, a nap room (only used when I was hungover after the Christmas party) and free cereal. You sit split up by your department, then with a team of countries (mine was UK, Netherlands and Sweden, but that's probably changed since), but everyone takes lunch 12.30-1.30 so there's plenty of opportunity to chat with everyone else; or you can stereotypically arrange hourly catch ups at the coffee machine over a brew of Yorkshire Tea. Every week there's the TGIF meeting, where everyone comes together to discuss what's happened in their department over a beer. Stylight like to claim that they've got a bit of a reputation in Munich for throwing amazing parties, so that's always good fun to look forward to too.
I was assured as I left that they were planning to change this, but there are a large percentage of interns working for Stylight, so there's a lot of new starters and people leaving on a weekly basis. Despite this, I've made plenty of friends who I still keep in contact with now.

What's happened since?

I always knew I'd have to be back in the UK on a certain date as I'd committed to jury service, leaving just under a week between completing my contract and my flight back. Since touching down, I haven't stopped. Two weeks of jury service were followed by interning at Cath Kidston and Oasis, and the latter offered me a job which I've been enjoying ever since. Did interning in Munich help my job prospects? It must've in some way, but I think it's more that I was interning for an extended period of time in an online retail environment, rather than because it was abroad. Regardless, it gave me an opportunity to discover another city, and get to Berlin for €16 return.

The million dollar question: would I recommend it to you?

If you've got the wanderlust bug: go for it. Don't expect it to be anything like Berlin, Munich's pretty tame: the population's rich and you'll definitely feel like the poorest person in the room balking at the idea of paying €3,90 for a tequila shot (then doing it anyway...), but it's absolutely magical at christmastime and you'll never not find it funny to see people wearing lederhosen and dirndls on the U-bahn - then buy one for yourself. It can be pretty pricey out there (Munich's the 39th most expensive city in the world, which stings after living in Liverpool but prepped me for London), and I was lucky enough to make a little bit of extra money from my blog to help pay the bills, but it can be tough at times if you don't have savings to dip into.
I am 100% glad I did it, but six months was just the right amount of time, and I was more than happy to return to Essex as my half year was up. And, let's be honest, it's got my "what's an interesting fact about you?" ice breaker covered for life.

If you want to get more of the nitty gritty feel free to tweet or email me.

And shout out to the amazing people I met out there (plus plenty more): Lauren, Kavita, Carmen, Charlotte, Lizzy, Charlotte, Stina, Marta, Anni, Romy, Rosa, Marine, Stephanie, Piero, Linda, Nina, Willemijn... too many to say you all!
7 Comments

Will you pour me one for the road?

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eBay Dirndl (blouse, dress, and apron, probably not the technical terms, but essentially a three-piece german lady suit): €24.90. Topshop monk shoes: £27. Brezel: c/o Lauren.
Photos by Lauren.

PROST

I had to save the best till last, didn't I?

When you ask the average person what they think of Germany, the typical answers will be beer, sausage, and the war. After living in Munich for just over six months, that's a pretty accurate trio, and they all boil down to (well, not the war so much) the traditional beer festivals that happen throughout the year. I was absolutely gutted to miss out on Oktoberfest, but my fellow Stylight girls were pretty up for getting a dirndl on and drinking our own weight in helles of a Saturday afternoon. I bought my dirndl from ebay for just over €30 once P&P was added, which is about the same price as a t-shirt in Topshop. You can buy more hardwearing handmade ones from many of the trachten shops (tr: traditional national costume) dotted around town, but with these coming in at well over €100 this was a much more intern-friendly option.

Frühlingsfest takes place in the same park as Oktoberfest, Theresienwiese, in the centre of Munich for about two weeks. We sat inside the main Hippodrom tent without reserving a table, but if you want one for the evening that's definitely a necessity. A one litre Maß costs €8,90 making it a darn sight cheaper than London, and a few of those certainly helped persuade me to head on a few of the fairground rides outside. I'll be back for Oktoberfest, but Frühlingsfest was possibly the best way to end my time in Bavaria in the most cliché way possible.

If all goes to plan (it normally doesn't, so I'm not holding my breath), this ought to be published while I'm up in Liverpool for the weekend. I'll inevitably be instagramming a food diary as it's all so GOOD, so be sure to follow me here, I promise I'll make it look pretty with a couple of filters.
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One day baby we'll be old.

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Ark collared shift dress. Marks and Spencer bag: £43. Shoe Zone wedges. Brandy Melville necklace: €6. Brandy Meville heart ring: €4. Jana Reinhardt bird ring.
Photos by Carmen.

Looking back at these photos makes me realise just how lacking my town is in architecture (and Zara, Munich town centre had THREE). This is Marienplatz: the station I changed at to get to the airport, the place I'd often end up at the end of a night out, and pretty darn aesthetically pleasing to boot. Like the Houses of Parliament, it's a political building, but they moved across the square a while ago and now it's more of a landmark than a location for important decision making. Nevertheless, on my last evening in town (sob), I met up with Carmen for some outfit photos in Munich's most famous square - better late than never, eh? Afterwards, we headed to Hans im Glück for burgers and a final farewell to all my favourite Münchners (and got a cheeky snap with Carmen and Anni who both have fabulous blogs) before the next day's flight back to the UK.

Hey, I might not have Marienplatz any more, but I do have an M&S and a tesco express.
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I ain't saying you're perfect but you're really, really good.

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Boohoo baseball tee: £10. American Apparel skirt: £30. Shoe Zone wedges. Asos over knee socks: £3.60. Charity shop belt: 20p. Marks and Spencer bag: £43. Brandy Melville necklace and ring: €6, €4.
Photos by Lauren.

oans, zwoa, g'suffa

This is definitely a "when in Munich" scenario. It took me six months, but I finally ended up going to Hofbrauhaus: the ultimate and most touristy of all of Bavaria's breweries. Just a stone's throw from the town centre, Hofbrauhaus is home to all things brezel and you can get a litre Maß for €8, which makes it marginally cheaper than Frühlingsfest and Oktoberfest (more on that soon!). Surprisingly when you consider its tourist target market, there seemed to be a lot of Münchners in there, and although I don't think I'd personally make it my local I can certainly see its charm and why people keep returning. Before heading to the beer capital of Europe I was definitely not a fan of the hops-based drink, but there is something about throwing yourself into a culture which makes you accustomed to tastes that you'd otherwise pass on, and can you really not drink beer when you're in Hofbrauhaus? That, and it often costs less than a soft drink, damn you UK duty rates! Now, how to go about ordering a helles in wetherspoons...

Speaking of being back, isn't the weather amazing? Of course, it's set to tip it down this evening and for the rest of the week, but I've been making the most of the sun by snapping some truly British outfit photos which I can't wait to share with you all. But with two more Munich posts to come you'll just have to wait that little bit longer! Other than spending time out in my garden editing away, I've been getting myself back into a routine of eating cheddar and having good ol' catch ups. However much I miss Munich, it is good to be back.
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You had me hooked again from the minute you sat down.

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Photos by (a hungover) Lauren.

You know those nights out which just seem to go on forever? I got to Lauren's around ten, and didn't end up getting back to mine till gone six. It may have been almost the length of a working day, but I'm pretty sure none of my daily assignments would involve bumping into friends in bars in the small hours unless I go for a serious career change. The day after, I felt surprisingly able to function so headed over to an irish pub for some pastry-based food and a couple of photos; some people might go so far to as to call this outfit post a miracle. I did, of course, pluck for my comfiest clothes, with Primark's super cosy tights, my new Brandy Melville T-shirt which is made from the softest material ever, and a decision to not bother with contact lenses. Then we found a lion mask, and that pretty much told us that we'd made the right decision to leave our duvets behind.

Perhaps ironically, I'm now writing this in my pjs, but it's completely acceptable on a Sunday morning in my eyes!
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Time is on my side, yes it is.

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Primark Rolling Stones tee: €10. Asos jeans: £28. The Kooples leather jacket. Shoe Zone wedges. Urban Outfitters hat: £26. Girissima clutch: borrowed from Carmen. Smashbox lipstick.
Photos by Carmen.

Based on the knowledge that whatever I'd end up with would have to be carted back to Munich and, in turn, the UK, I was pretty restrained when it came to buying souvenirs from Innsbruck, but when can I resist a good ol' Stones tee? The answer is apparently never when it's a mere €10 (about £8). When I went round Carmen's I stole her clutch bag to give this a bit of added oomph/make it look slightly more interesting than the standard jeans and t-shirt combination; did it work?

I'm back in the very same jeans today for my flight back to GB, but instead of a clutch bag I'm working the suitcase-bigger-than-me-plus-carry-on look, which is considerably less chic. Seeing as pretty much every single person who's enquired about the move has asked as to whether I'm looking forward to going back, I may as well answer it here too. I've got pretty mixed views on heading back: I'm looking forward to meeting up with j rox for lunch and Liberty tomorrow, cheddar cheese, and a trip to Liverpool, but the last six months have been a massive learning curve for me, and I think going back to what I've known for the last twenty two years will be a bit difficult. If there's one thing I've learnt  by being surrounded by such optimistic people (cringe), is that it's important to concentrate on what you enjoy doing, and then everything will turn out okay. I'm not entirely sure what that means I'll end up doing, but I do know that I'll be updating this blog while I work it out. Because it's always a good idea to document your quarter life crisis.
6 Comments

There's no need for you to say you're sorry.

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Photos by Carmen.

Well, that's that. Friday was my last day at Stylight, and it'll be weird waking up tomorrow and not get the U bahn to Maillingerstraße. In the grand scheme of things, six months is absolutely nothing at all, but by the end of my time there I felt like such a part of the team and an honorary Münchnerin that it's going to be weird to head back to the UK next week (don't worry, I've still got a couple of Munich posts to come, you haven't seen the last of it quite yet!). So here's a little shout out, however cringe it may be, to Martijn, Stina, Nina, Willemijn, and Charlee (who has a lovely blog here) and all the other wonderful people I've met along the way, I'd never have learnt to like beer and drink it in maß-ive (hehe) proportions without you. It's not 100% concrete what I'm doing when I get home other than having proper fish and chips, so help a sister out if you're hiring - I make a dead good cuppa. I'm currently undecided as to whether I'll write a round up style post like I posted before I moved here, so if you've got any questions about my Stylight internship, feel free to tweet or email me and I'll happily answer anything from moving to Munich to what I did on a day to day basis to interning at Stylight.

Plus, for your delectation, here are some completely unrelated outfit photos.
15 Comments

My soul you can have it.

Photos by Carmen.

Just a quick "hello, how are ya" from me today as I'm sneakily writing this up before leaving work for dinner (read: buffet, and thus pure joy). I haven't had that much time to take photos recently, so you'll have to do with these ones which were taken a few weeks ago. This is Odeonsplatz, which is in the centre of Munich, and home to my favourite Starbucks in town. I've wanted to photograph it ever since I saw Sarah's photos from her visit, but when the opportunity finally arose it decided to rain; some things never change. And, on that note, tempura's calling my name, but I'll be back with my last few Munich posts and more to say soon!
9 Comments
Hello, I'm Rebecca: social media exec, new-ish coffee drinker and loafer-wearer.
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