Not in Kansas anymore

Four main differences between being in university, working a part-time job and working in the industry.

Before going to university I had a handful of part-time jobs, predominantly bars, which on my CV I have of course said taught me a whole host of employable skills, but truth be told they mostly just taught me the quickest way to drain water off an inflatable slide and how to pour a pint.  I mean, sure, it taught me how to hold down a job and the value of earning and having my own money, but in terms of transferable skills about how to behave in the professional workplace, I learned next to nothing. In fact, if anything I learned more how not to behave in the workplace, like not dating your bar supervisor or getting too involved in workplace politics.

Similarly, while I believe that being at university helps to develop a range of skills it doesn’t necessarily directly encourage professional development. In my mind, as long as I turned up to every lecture, I worked hard and I handed my assignments in on time I could drink and make a fool of myself as I pleased.

So when I began working in my first industry job I started to see a lot of stark differences between how to conduct myself in a part-time job and at uni compared to at work.

The first being, you cannot turn up either drunk or hungover. 


So many times I would turn up to work with a hangover, especially at the fun park I worked at when I was 16. It was my first job and a gaggle of us would often stay up late, get drunk, and go in the next morning with only our sunglasses as savior. That would not fly now, nor would it be half as enjoyable. Back then it was funny, getting through a whole day incumbered by a hangover was an act of comradery and was eventually rewarded with a pat on the back from my fellow struggling ride operators, and maybe even a pint at the end of the day.

In the same vein, it wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary to go get a pint – or two – at lunch while I was studying. And going in hungover almost becomes second nature, the freedom to work for yourself and by yourself allows you to go in, get your head down and achieve as much or as little as possible given your varying state, however in the work place you generally have someone to answer to. Even my boss, as chilled as he is, wouldn’t let me get away with slinking off to the back and aimlessly clicking around on CAD until I feel I’ve ‘worked’ enough to take lunch.

You do not talk about how much, or rather how little, money you have.


At university there’s almost what I’d call an overdraft culture of being very open about money, perhaps because it helps to know were all in the same boat, heavy with debt and sinking fast. There isn’t a lot that isn’t open for discussion, lectures, assignments, sex, money, rock and roll… However, this is not the same for the adult world, you’re bank account suddenly becomes shrouded in mystery and to ask how much someone earns has the same brazen sense that comes with asking an older woman her age, it’s something we can guess by appearance but society insists we should never ask directly.

Be careful how much you reveal about your love life


Talking through your love life over a pint at lunch is the norm when you’re at uni but revealing too much about your love life in the office can get you into trouble, and so can blurring the line between the two. To be frank, at uni you can sleep with half the campus if you want to if that’s your prerogative because it’s unlikely to come back and bite you in the arse (not to say it won’t get you a few side eyes) but at work, I would advise keeping your sexual dalliances separate. No one wants to be the topic of office gossip.

Pulling the covers back over your head when the alarm goes off.


Uni and to an extent part-time jobs are a lot more flexible about your presence. I will never condone just not going to lectures but if you don’t want to go, you really don’t have to. It’s not like school, no one is going to twist your arms to go (but you really should!). And anyone who says they’ve never called in sick to a part-time job because of the above-mentioned hangover or because you just can’t be bothered is a liar, but this is simply not an option with a real deal job. Unless you’re dead or dying, you should really go in.

These are just a few observations I’ve made in the short time I’ve been at Philip Watts Design but there are countless differences between working full time in the industry and studying or working a part-time job while at school or college.



Sometimes a week is just a week. A week where nothing particularly special happens. This week is not one of those weeks. This week is actually a rather special one.

Firstly we welcomed the very lovely and wonderfully talented Gintare to the London office. She is our resident graphics queen, head over to her Instagram to see for yourself.

The second reason this week is special is that it will end with my 21st birthday.


This Saturday marks the 21st year that I have had the pleasure of spending on this beautiful, albeit doomed, planet. This birthday, much like the rest, will be spent in the company of my family but excitingly this time they’re joining my brother and me in London for the celebration. My mother being the giving and thoughtful person she is has planned an elaborate day of adventure that I know less than nothing about past it being my birthday and that I will, of course, love it.

21 years being That Libby Girl.

Bring on the rest.

Design Junction

I started That Libby Girl 3 years ago now before I was even a student. When I wasn’t sure quite what I wanted from my life. I certainly never assumed that in 3 little years I would be working as a junior interior designer and living in central London, edging closer and closer to what I’ve been working towards since I set my sights on being a designer.

One perk of the job is that I get to visit amazing shows, like Design Junction and Decorex, and indulge my love for beautiful design.

Below are my favourites from Design Junction:


My four walls


As you may or may not know, I moved relatively recently and I have yet to properly settle into my room. The transition from dingy London room to my London room is however well underway. One of the walls has already been given a fresh coat of white paint, with the rest to follow hopefully this weekend after a well-needed trip to IKEA.

Anyone my age or younger knows all too well that your room is your only space to really express yourself. When I was younger I was fortunate enough that my parents let me have free reign of how my room was decorated, with the exception of one radical idea to paint all the walls black and have vibrant orange accessories. In hindsight, vetoing that one was a good shout but 13-year-old skull embossed fingerless glove wearing me was most upset. Never the less I stand by the fact that people, especially children, and young people should express themselves in the spaces they spend most of their time. Which is why I am excited this year to have a little more freedom with my own room.

Previously I lived in university halls which, while customizable, are relatively set in stone. I found small ways to make it my own, like putting posters on the walls and having my collection of bowls and accompanying trinkets displayed. There was also a pin board which by the end of the year was heaving with what I now, from the great heights of third-year, regard fondly as ‘first-year memories’.


During second-year I lived in a shabby little house that was largely unfit to live in for an extremely long list of reasons, but I think I still found a way to make my little room my own. I consider myself quite a sentimental person so an easy way for me to feel at home is by surrounding myself with memories. Like the plaster cast mold of my breast that I made in college as part of Free The Nippe project which also reminds me to stay creative (you can check out the full project here), family photos, a model I made in first-year, and of course my bowls.

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Follow my Instagram to keep up to date with the transformation of my new flat.




You know when life just gets away from you? When you have every intention of doing something and then one thing leads to another and you just never get around to doing it. Well, that’s what happened with this post about my impromptu adventure to Croyde, Devon which was… 3 months ago now.

Never the less the trip was amazing and by no means as forgettable as the accompanying blog post. It began with a car picnic, as any adventure should, made up of crudely passenger made ham and cheese rolls. And it ended with me having surfed, and I admit I use to term surf very lightly, for the first time. With a bit of dune jumping and beach drinking in between. Fortunately, I also got the chance to walk around the idyllic town of Croyde and take some photos of the surprisingly modern architecture in the quaint little area. Naturally along side the striking designs stood traditional cottages with thatched roofs and an abundance of surf shops and little cafes.

Moving to London has only made my appreciation for the coast swell and Croyde is definitely somewhere I could easily learn to love living.



Tate Date

Although my interests have largely shifted from art to design in the last few years I still have a deep appreciation for art, plus I now only live a stone’s throw away from the Tate Modern so it seemed rude not to visit.

As a follow on from my confession that my head has in fact been turned by design (sorry Mrs Gately) I feel I should talk briefly about the building itself. The gallery is housed in a disused power station that, before being transformed into the Tate by architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron of Herzog & de Meuron in 1995, was teetering on the edge of demolition. The building has since undergone many further developments but all the original industrious charm of the station was kept in tact – thankfully.

Naturally one of my great loves still remains to be photography, so a combination of photography and industrial steel work had me leaning over the rope to get a closer look.


Needless to say, I had a really amazing day walking around the Tate, almost rekindling my love for art. And on a stroke of luck, I had the best company, a fellow art lover, which meant that not only could we look at but also discuss the art together. It’s a very nice feeling when you say ‘I like that.’ and someone asks you ‘Why?’ because they’re genuinely interested in what you like about it.

It’s a very nice feeling when you say ‘I like that.’ and someone asks you ‘Why?’ because they’re genuinely interested in what you like about whatever it is you liked. I liked it. Why? Because then we really talked about art.

London life

So it finally happened, after years of yearning to live in London I finally moved. I feel like the commute coupled with how incredibly unhappy I was in my last rental has made the streets of London look even more beautiful than I thought possible.

As you may or may not know I had been commuting to work for exactly a month when I moved which I will actually miss in part. I enjoyed having what I called ‘free time’ in my day to read and watching London from the heights of the top deck was soon one of the highlights of my day. However, all things taken into account, I’m pleased to say that this admittedly arduous and tiring part of my day has been replaced with a short walk to the office. The move has also freed my social calendar substantially. While commuting I knew that staying any later than 5.30 would mean I wouldn’t get home until 8 and any time after 6 meant my key wouldn’t turn in the door of 144 until at least 9. Naturally, this deterred me from doing pretty much anything after work. But now… I no longer feel like Cinderella, running for the bus at the risk of my commute being turned into a pumpkin.

The freedom to make plans in London is something I’ve been looking forward to, more so in the last month, but low-key for my entire life. However, London is notorious for its head down attitude so making new friends seemed daunting at first. But thanks to 21st-century methods like Tinder I’ve slowly been attracting like minded people with my new bio ‘Interior designer new to London looking for companions to drink and explore with’.

Keep reading That Libby Girl to hear about my adventures in London, regular updates on my job as a junior interior designer and my endeavors to make new friends, also keep track of my ongoing Twitter commentary #officetalk.

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