Posts by Abby Doherty

Hi! I'm Abby, 19 years old and I work as a marketer for new fashion brand Ferrajean and am studying my BA degree in Paris. My blog is a real mix of life, style, travel and advice, I hope you can join me on this journey!

My gap year experience and what the education system doesn’t tell you

Gap year blog post

Hey guys and welcome back!

It’s been a while since I last posted and the blog has had a bit of a make-over!

More Ferrajean details will be coming soon as we are working on some pretty exciting things….but we can’t reveal too much right now 😉

In light of the recent A-levels and GCSE results days, I would like to share with you my experience 2 years ago and how I came to be in the place I am today.

In 2 days time, I will be moving to Paris to start my university course. (*panicking*) But, just 2 years ago I didn’t think that this would happen and that it was more of a fantasy than a reality. Let’s rewind.

June 2017

A-levels exam time. It had been quite a tough year but this particular exam period was draining to say the least. At the time, I didn’t put a name to it but I was depressed. I would wake up every morning with the intention to revise for 6 hours but would end up staying in bed. I would make a large stack of revision posters and flash cards but not take any of the information in. I felt quite numb to it all. I would get panic attacks during the night and not really understand why they were happening. It wasn’t until I reflected on the year in January 2018 that I truly understood what I was feeling.

At the time, I had been skipping a few classes which was out of character for me. But most mornings it felt like I couldn’t physically get out of bed and I convinced myself that I would do better revision at home. So I told my teacher I was ill and stayed in.

Usually I do well in exams and can stay relatively calm under the pressure. But that year it felt so much heavier than before. And for the first time I lost track of time during a few exams and didn’t get to finish my papers. For a long time my grades had been a huge part of who I was and I was proud of the work I had put in in secondary school and sixth form. In a way they had defined me. So when I received my results I was disappointed with myself.

Looking back, I didn’t do as bad as I had put myself down for but I still know I could have worked harder. But it is also not about that. Mental health should be a priority for the education system. There is so much pressure put on students to do their best regardless of what they are personally going through. It is not spoken enough about in schools and, at the time, I didn’t feel comfortable talking about how I felt because I did feel alone. But, not to be cliche, if you feel like you are drowning at school or feel numb to it all, know that you are not alone. There are always people you can go to and I have listed a few good resources to go to at the bottom of this post.

As an A student, I felt extremely disappointed in myself when I received 3 Bs for my A-levels. At the time, I had planned to apply to Oxford that September and I was gutted that I had let myself down. For a while, I kept replaying my A-levels, seeing where I should have worked harder. English Literature had been one of my strengths since I was young and it had always been my favourite subject. Getting a B in that was what I was most disappointed about. However, I felt that I had done better in English and I got my poetry paper re-marked. My grade went up to an A and I felt so relieved. But it also taught me that my grades shouldn’t define me.

What I got in my A-levels and my GCSEs are not who I am. They don’t prove who anyone is or where they can go in the future. We are learning everyday and from everything and what the education system doesn’t tell you is that institutionalised education isn’t for everyone. There are other options out there.


Taking a gap year was a new start for me. I was in control and the way I was learning didn’t feel forced.

In year 11, I had so many talks about which college or sixth form is the right one. Will it get me to the right university? What is sixth form like? But no one mentioned that there were other options. No one told us that it’s okay to not want to sit in a classroom and memorise a text book and that you can reach your goals without going on to higher education.

What schools fail to mention at these critical times is that we are learning everyday and education can come from so many different paths, not just the one that they have set out for us.

So, when I began my Level 3 apprenticeship in Digital Marketing, it felt new, exciting, a little scary, but completely in my control. No one had told me to do this and it felt good.

I spent my gap year working in an events company and experiencing a professional environment. I was able to apply what I was learning in marketing to my job and I learnt so much more effectively. I was pushed out of my comfort zone and given more responsibility than I thought I was capable of handling. My confidence grew immensely and I went from being quite insecure to almost sure of myself.

I built great friendships with people in my class and at work, of which I was unable to fully build when I was in school.

I did so many rewarding things and things that I didn’t think I was capable of. I wrote an ad for TIME and FORTUNE magazine, I put my anxiety aside and negotiated with people over the phone and other people believed in me.

Being in that new environment felt so refreshing and liberating. I wasn’t limited to a specification and grade boundaries and it allowed me to explore new things outside of work.

I signed up for an aerial silks training course, I taught myself how to play the ukulele and have started on the violin. I travelled to Edinburgh alone. I flew to France and stayed there for 4 days with my friend and I flew alone for the first time when I returned from another trip to Poland.

Not only did my apprenticeship open new doors for me, it also gave me some financial freedom to do things that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.

This year also taught me that I am okay by myself and that I do enjoy my own company. Friendships can be quite hard to hold on to at this time in your life and you may lose some along the way. I found that sometimes that is necessary and that you should really appreciate the good people you have in your life. But don’t be afraid to be alone.

Last week, I left my apprenticeship and job early and I can genuinely say that I will miss the people I worked with over the past year.

I believe that everything happens for a reason and I am on a new journey now. I was partially raised by my grandmother and she was always opposed to the idea of university as she always wanted me close. So, for the past 2 years I have been fighting with her to try to convince her to let me go. During year 12 it seemed impossible, she wasn’t going to crack.

But this year, last minute, I applied to a university in Paris. Paris has always held a place in my heart and to be accepted was a dream. But for my Nan to then accept it was a completely unexpected and amazing turn of events.

2 years ago, the idea of her helping me pack for university seemed like a far off fantasy. But, after just having packed my first suitcase with her, I know that I’ll get where I need to go; eventually.

So, the moral of this very long story (sorry about that) is that there is always a way and the current education system isn’t for everyone.

Prioritise your mental health and talk to someone. You will find your path; it just might not be what you had originally planned.

Have faith in your abilities and know that you are always learning.

And that you define yourself, how you treat others and act towards the world shows who you are.

Friends may come and go but hold onto the ones that treat you right and be comfortable in your own company.

Until next time,

Abby

Mental health resources:

Time to Change

Rethink

Young Minds

Mind

Helplines

Minimalism and why it matters

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu

minimalism and why it matters

Hello and welcome back!

Here at Ferrajean, we are working on some pretty exciting and secret projects that will be revealed in due course…;) Our founder, Lucille, is busy sewing away at our new collections and our brand new website will be up and running within the next few weeks! Stay tuned for updates by checking out our social platforms!

Today I want to focus on something a little different. Minimalism.

Defined by Merriam-Webster, minimalism is a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity”. 

In today’s age, we are hoarders. We keep things that we no longer need or use. We throw them in the unknown corners of our rooms where remnants of the past have re-located. Why? It’s different for everyone. For me, I guess it’s to hold onto fond memories of childhood and to get that rushing sense of nostalgia when we remember what is in those forgotten corners. But recently, the idea of being a minimalist has become more and more appealing.

When people think of minimalism, they usually imagine a sparse room with empty walls and only the basic necessities. But this isn’t what minimalism is. It goes beyond the physical items you own and goes deep into what makes you you. When you invest more of your interests into the objects you own and less into the experiences you have, you start to miss out on really living in the moment.

For example, are you someone who wants to capture a fun experience with friends on your phone? Take those funny photos with the intention of looking back on them later or posting them on social media. I am one of those people, but I have recently tried to keep my phone in my bag and live in the moment. Yes, those pictures captured amazing moments but what’s the point if you weren’t truly present? That, to me, is minimalism. Living simply for the sake of enjoying the moments we have.

In the past, I have been reluctant to give away old clothes or school books. Even though I didn’t need them, I felt that I was saying goodbye to a part of my life that I wouldn’t get back. But recently, I pushed myself to fill a bag of things I rarely use and give them to charity. And it was fine. I didn’t feel like I had lost anything; I actually felt like I had gained more freedom and space (literally).

So that’s why it matters. The less attention we pay to material things means we can pay more attention to what really matters. The people and experiences around us. We don’t need to capture every moment on our Snapchat stories. We should take comfort in knowing that we are lucky enough to experience what we have experienced and to have what we have.

What are your thoughts on minimalism? I’d love to know!

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

From FJ Marketer, Abby x

Behind the Scenes of a Ferrajean Photo-shoot!

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Taken by Darius Knetsch,starring (left to right) Abby Doherty, Lucille Jean-Charles and Saskia Jean-Charles, 9/4/18

Hello everyone and welcome back!

It has been just over a month since I last posted (sorry!) but I am back and ready to share some exclusive behind-the-scenes goodness!

On 9th April 2018, the Ferrajean team took to South East London to have their second photo-shoot! It was a mad rush of getting everything to fit in a few suitcases, making sure we hadn’t lost anyone and braving the freezing cold weather. Despite how hectic the day was though, we managed to get the photos we were aiming for and bonded more as a team.

Today I will share some of our favourite photos from the day and I will later post more in-depth details from the day; so stay tuned!

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  ‘Embellished Love’ Jumpsuit paired with white EGO heels, starring Shannon Merishaas 

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‘Be Jewelled’ two piece outfit paired with white EGO heels, starring Shannon Merishaas 

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‘Make Me Wild’ two piece outfit paired with nude heels, starring Saskia Jean-Charles

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‘Make Me Wild’ dress paired with chunky nude heels, starring Shannon Merishaas 

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Elegant red dress paired with white heels, starring Lucille Jean-Charles

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(impromptu photo-shoot when we got home because Kamara fell in love with the ‘Make Me Wild’ trousers 🙂 #boujee)

‘Make Me Wild’ trousers paired with a long-sleeved black crop top, starring Kamara Atkinson

I hope you enjoyed this little sneak-peek into what Ferrajean will be releasing soon!

To keep up with what’s happening next make sure to sign-up here!

We are currently in the process of having a website make-over and our new website, with the above pieces available, will be up soon!

If you are interested in modelling for Ferrajean please message Lucille or I on Instagram or email us at l.jeancharles@ferrajean.com and abbydoherty@ferrajean.com

(All pieces are hand-made by our extremely talented founder Lucille and all photos were taken by Darius Knetsch, apart from the last one taken by Lucille)

Until next time!

From FJ Marketer, Abby x

Love Luce: How to Style a Yellow Faux Fur Coat

Hey guys, welcome back! We are starting a new series on here in which, Ferrajean founder, Lucille will be posting about how she styles her wardrobe and her FJ pieces. We hope you enjoy! 😉


How to Style a Yellow Faux Fur Coat 

Hey guys, Luce here!

I have also done a YouTube video over on my channel (linked above) if you want to see the coat in action 😉 Anyways, onto the post!

I bought this coat from Missguided.

At first I was sceptical about buying it because of the colour. Would it go with anything in my wardrobe? How often would I wear it? But then I thought, you only live once and life is too short to just have boring colours in your closet! So I bought it!

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I have no regrets! I get a lot of comments from people when I wear this coat. The most common being “I can see you from a mile away” lol. It’s a great conversation starter.

A con I found, when I first started wearing it, was that I found it hard to match it with my outfits, because the colour is so bright. The looks I have done in my video are mainly all black outfits. Black and white go with everything; my mum always told me that when I was growing up. But there’s no harm in switching it up and experimenting with different colours.

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The last outfit in my video included more colour because I found some pinks that went really well with the yellow. Denim goes well with a lot of bright colours, so my jeans complimented the coat well. Although, I think you have to find the right colour denim because I feel like some bleached denim or very light coloured denim can make the outfit look a bit childish, with the yellow.

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The big pro of this is that it is so unbelievably warm!!!! And, coming from someone who is always cold (and lives in England), that is saying something! It’s amazing to wear this in winter too because you can wear a little revealing outfit underneath and still feel toastie!

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I would love to hear your styling tips and tricks for wearing a statement piece of clothing like this coat so don’t forget to comment below!

I will be back soon with an exclusive look into what is to come from Ferrajean 😉

Thank you all for reading! Until next time.

Love, Luce xxx

FJ Travel: Something that scares you – 4 Days in Paris

Hello and welcome back to Behind the Seams! It has been about a month since my last post but I am back and ready to share some exciting updates!

Ferrajean founder, Lucille, has been working hard an exclusive summer collection and we have a few photo-shoots in the making! Lucille has also launched her very own YouTube channel in which she will be sharing everything FJ and her own personal passions. You can check it out here – Lucille Jean (perfect timing as she has just uploaded a new video!)

Lucille will also be starting her own series on this blog called ‘Love, Luce’. She will be sharing her own styling and lifestyle tips, which will coincide with her YouTube channel. Her first post will be going up this week, so keep an eye out! 😉

Now, back to the main reason you clicked on this post – Paris!

My best-friend Saskia and I travelled to Paris for 4 days at the beginning of March and, although a lot could have went wrong (mainly my bad :/), we had the most amazing time! In this post I will share the mistakes we made, some tips on not being a ‘tourist’ and our favourite locations.

What could have went wrong 

I was in charge.

Well…I voluntarily put myself in charge of the flight and hotel. That was mistake one (according to Saskia). Because we are last minute and somewhat unorganised people when we are together, we naturally booked our flight and hotel through lastminute.com. In a fleeting moment of stupidity, I put ‘Abby’ as the name on the flight booking. Something that I later found was a real pain to change. You might be thinking ‘why would this be an issue?’ Well, I’ll tell you. My legal name (i.e the one on my passport) is Abigail. Hence, my brain should have realised that it may look a bit dodgy to have two different names on the booking and my passport.

I didn’t actually realise this issue until Saskia pointed it out a week before we were due to go. So, naturally, I went into panic mode. I called lastminute.com to ask them to change it and what pursued was a daily phone call with customer service and the constant response that they would ‘pass the issue to their manager’. Well, the departure day arrived and I hadn’t heard back. What followed was some frantic prayers on the way to Heathrow and, thankfully, my name was not an issue. Panic over. Or so I thought. (they emailed me in Paris saying that they were unable to change it… better late than never I guess)

British weather a.k.a #BeastfromtheEast

The week we were due to leave the lovely #BeastfromtheEast decided to stop by. We were leaving Heathrow airport on Friday 2nd March and flights to and from Charles de Gaulle, France were being cancelled and delayed left and right. Snow was falling fast and we were really in doubt of being able to depart. However, a miracle came out of nowhere and the snow eased up enough for our flight to take off on time and we luckily landed safely in France! Hourra!

Euros, #BeastfromtheEast again and some high-quality customer service 

This was by far the most frustrating thing that went wrong. I ordered about £100 worth of euros a few days before we left for Saskia using her money via my bank. I used online banking because it guaranteed next-day delivery. Apparently. I ordered it on the Tuesday before we left and then Wednesday came. Nothing. Thursday came. Nothing. We were leaving at 2am the next morning so this needed to be sorted out on the Thursday. I was fairly sure that the euros had been delayed by the lovely snowy weather :/ so the logical thing to do was ask for my bank to transfer the money back into my account. I thought that this would be a simple matter. After 3 hours on-hold and being transferred back and forth between the same 2 people, I realised my prediction was a bit off. We still had shopping to do so we had to eventually hang up and rely on our credit cards in France. I had managed to get some euros a few days prior so it didn’t become too much of an issue.

However, the awful customer service wasted a majority of our time and so we made a complaint and managed to get back the money that we lost. Hourra x2!

Our Hotel, or rather, where the hotel was located

Another mistake of mine. :/ I had had a quick glance at where our hotel was and, after seeing that it wasn’t too far from central Paris, decided it was the one. A week before we left though, Saskia Google mapped its surroundings. It was surrounded by sex shops and strip clubs. On top of that, Saskia’s French mum told us that the location we had chosen was known for having prostitutes. This ensured us both going into panic mode. Not a good combination. But, it was too late to change the hotel and everything had already been sorted. So we took our own advice, that everything happens for a reason, and went with the flow.

Turns out, apart from the strip clubs and sex shops, Pigalle was actually the ideal location. We were more immersed in Parisian culture than if we had stayed in central. By day 2 we were experts at manually opening metro doors and by day 3 had found the most amazing French restaurant just outside our hotel. Our hotel was a quick and beautiful 14 minute walk from the Sacré-Cœur. Moral of the story – (in the words of Alex Russo) everything is not what it seems.

Our favourite locations

BOUILLON PIGALLE 

This is the restaurant that sat across the road from our hotel and was an absolute God send! We had previously tried to eat at a restaurant in central Paris, next to the Notre-Dame, and after seeing a rat skitter across the floor while eating some food that tasted a bit off, we decided to not venture there again. The food at Bouillon Pigalle is relatively cheap, the interior design is very Parisian and cosy and (my favourite bit) they gave you unlimited free, fresh bread with each meal. 10/10

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(my face after I realised I didn’t get food poisoning from the food the night before)

Sacré-Cœur

The Sacré-Cœur was a quick 14 minute walk from our hotel and the winding streets and alleys were beautiful. Although mostly populated by tourist shops, we found amazing sweet shops, a Lindt chocolate shop and a supermarket (in which Saskia went a bit crazy buying cheese and meat for her family). The Sacré-Cœur itself was breath-taking and the view was definitely worth the stairs giving you an intense leg workout. 10/10

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(us at the Sacré-Cœur on our last day)

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(Saskia insisted on a shot of her outside her favourite chocolate shop)

We also did many of the typical touristy things. We went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, walked along many beautiful bridges, took the metro and payed $15 for a drawing of us at the Eiffel Tower (my bad…again).

Although a lot of things could have went wrong, a lot went right and it was one of the best trips that we have had in a long time. The trip was also quite out-of-the-blue. The main reason for going was for a university open day and we just added a few extras days on. We didn’t overthink it too much and I think that worked in our favour.

Moral of the story – do something that scares you and don’t think too much about it. You may be very surprised 😉

Up next will be the first instalment of ‘Love, Luce’ and next week Saskia and I will share what we wore on our weekend away in Paris!

Until next time 😉

From FJ Marketer, Abby x

 

Behind the Sketch: ‘Embellished Love’

Hello and welcome back to another ‘Behind the Sketch’ of Ferrajean!

Today we will be exploring the story and inspiration behind one of Ferrajean’s newest and upcoming pieces, ‘Embellished Love’.

‘Embellished Love’ began as a piece of red embroidery that caught the eye of our Founder and Designer, Lucille. What attracted her to this material in particular, was its deep wine red colour and intricate beaded detailing.

The deep red is reminiscent and universally symbolic of ‘love’ and ‘romance’ and so inspired Lucille to create a piece that embodied such symbols. Yet, the inspiration and idea goes further than the surface. The embroidered detail reminded Lucille of love that has been broken, but also still exists.

‘Embellished’ is defined as ‘to make (something) more attractive by the addition of decorative details or features.’ In relation to ‘love’, a relationship can be embellished with material things, money and falsities, to make it appear ‘more attractive’ to the outside world, but the truth will ultimately still exist beyond the surface.

Lucille used this concept to create a jumpsuit that is relatively translucent in areas, to symbolise seeing through the material and below the surface. She then hand-cut the material left over and used it to cover the more intimate areas of the body, to symbolise how material things in an ’embellished’ relationship can offer a form of validation and protection from the outside world.

On the lighter side, the detailing and snug fit of the jumpsuit makes it perfect for glamorous occasions, nights out and will ensure you are red-carpet ready.

The piece is daring and goes great with confidence 😉

If you would like to model our jumpsuit or partner with Ferrajean, feel free to email l.jeancharles@ferrajean.com

Below is the original sketch of ‘Embellished Love’ –

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Below is the finished jumpsuit –

The jumpsuit will be available to buy on the www.ferrajean.com very soon! Keep up with our social media to be updated!

See you all soon!

From FJ Marketer, Abby x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You are beautiful because you are alive.” + Behind the Scenes of FJ’s new ‘Embellished Love’ coming soon!

Hello and welcome back! It has been just over a week since I last posted, and I want to thank everyone who supported my last post about anxiety. It was a very cathartic and new experience for me, to give a personal insight into my life, but I am glad that I was able to share. I hope that you will continue on this journey with Ferrajean and I!

Truthfully, this post was supposed to go up on 14th February, Valentine’s day. My plan was to write about how self-love should become a common practice, and not just on one day of the year. However, although I believe that loving yourself is extremely important and fundamental, I want to focus on another, similar, topic. Our perception of ‘beauty’.

‘On Being Ugly’ – a video by karakamos

Last year, I came across a viral video called ‘On Being Ugly’. There are many videos on YouTube that encourage people to stop obsessing about how they look, how they are judged by others and to believe that we are all beautiful. This video, however, is different. Young You Tuber, ‘karakamos’, explains, with raw honesty, how she sees herself as ‘ugly’ and how that isn’t a bad thing unless it stops you from doing what you love. She explains that if she is excited about something, or is enjoying being somewhere, how she looks is the last thing on her mind. But, like all of us, she admits that there are a lot of times when her appearance gets her down.

What stuck with me was when she explained that, when she is feeling bad, she reminds herself that she is beautiful simply because she is alive. Because she is breathing and moving and doing things. And that is beautiful. I think when we step back and take a look at the world around us, and how we function within our world, it really is quite amazing. Everything that we are able to do, from breathing to walking on the moon, as humans, is beautiful and extraordinary. Having the ability to love one another and share the beauty of the world around us, is a spectacular thing that a lot of us take for granted.

Put into perspective, how well you fit into societal standards becomes minute and irrelevant. The things that you do and the people you meet should be what matters, not how you looked while doing them. As a species, I think we are all intricate, complex and pretty amazing creatures. We make mistakes and errors, we cry and get agitated, but we also smile, laugh and love. There is too much conflict in this world to take the beauty and kindness in our everyday lives for granted.

Karakamos beautifully explained that it is okay to not be okay and ‘ugliness’ shouldn’t be seen as something that stops you from living your life and being happy. We are all inherently beautiful because we are living things and physical features shouldn’t define us as beings.

Speaking of beautiful things, FJ founder Lucille, has been working on her new ‘Red Collection’ which will be available online soon!

An exclusive ‘Behind the Sketch’ post will also be up very soon, explaining the inspiration behind one of her new pieces ‘Embellished Love’, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, thank you for reaching the end of this post, and I hope that when you are ever in doubt of your existence and worth, remember that you are beautiful and meaningful because you are alive, and that is pretty amazing.

I believe that we were put on this Earth for a reason. And I think, perhaps, that reason is to live and not just exist.

I leave you with a blurry picture of 14 year-old me, living life on the best school trip ever to Rome, and not caring what the mirror told me.

happy in rome

From FJ Marketer, Abby x