2015 has been an interesting year for me so far, I’m not trying to saying it’s over just yet! There has been a lot of soul searching, a lot of thinking, quite a lot of action and small steps (hopefully) in the right direction.
One thing that has been on the back burner for all of this is this blog. I have kept up with my monthly goings on. And my hope has been to post when I can, sharing photos of work more than anything, which hasn’t exactly gone to plan. I’ve written about it many a time, promising more art work shared from me and less chatter, that hasn’t exactly gone to plan now has it? So, I have a new plan.
And now, let’s be clear, it hasn’t been an easy plan to make.
Firstly, I am no longer going to post on this blog. It isn’t working for me anymore. I was never going to be one of those bloggers who gets free stuff from companies to advertise or gets paid to promote products. I never wanted my blog to be that. It was always a diary, a place to start up a conversation, to document my goings on in the world, to share my work (sometimes!) and at times, I had a little rant.
Secondly, I’m not disappearing from the whole internet. I’m still going to be documenting my daily woes on twitter (although, I do hope I can post some positivity there, sometimes!) I’ve started up a new Instagram where it will be completely work focused, and I still have my old Instagram with my daily goings on, both of which post immediately to Flickr. The big projects will then go onto my Portfolio site.
I am fully aware that we are in an age that are permanently connected to our phones and devices, consuming information until there’s no tomorrow. I don’t want this to be me and I don’t want to spend any more time at my laptop than I have to. I don’t even see this as the end of my blog and the end of 7 years of posting, I see this as another step in a positive direction.
Goodness, October has been so busy! I have had so much on my mind that I probably have gone a little crazy! One day I forgot how old I was, am I 26, 27 or 28? I’m still not entirely sure. I lost track of what day it was and I pulled my house keys out of my bag, when I needed my train ticket to go through the ticket barriers.
I’ve made good progress on the recipe book for church, it was even mentioned on the Watford Observer website. It is very exciting to be involved in such a big project that will make such a difference to the community.
Rob and I went for a weekend away at a hotel, it was very much needed, we ate nice food, shared a bottle of wine, sat in a jacuzzi and talked about life (not all at the same time of course!). It was so nice to have a break from everything.
I visited my best friends from Uni, we spent a weekend shopping, drinking tea, chatting, laughing and dog walking. It was lovely to catch up on life with my Besties!
We celebrated a friend’s birthday, saw my sister in a dance show and caught up with another friend and her baby.
You’d think that this has been a month of just socialising but there has been a lot of work behind the scenes that I can’t talk about just yet and is the real reason why I’ve been going a little crazy. Hopefully all will become clear and I can let you know what I’ve been up to.
I’ve always been told not to judge a book by it’s cover. Very often I break that rule, then read the blurb and if I think I’ll enjoy the book then I’ll go for it.
I wandered into Waterstones on a Friday lunchtime a few weeks ago because I had just finished Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks that morning and was on the hunt for a new book. Birdsong had been an emotional read so I wanted something light. I was originally on the look out for Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert but couldn’t see it anywhere. I did however come across Very Good Lives by JK Rowling.
I had seen someone reading this book, a few days before, on the train. Immediately, I loved the cover artwork and obviously recognised the author so I thought I’d give it a try. I do not regret my choice one bit. It only took me about 45 minutes to read, and I know already that I’ll read it another 100 times.
It is her commencement speech from the Harvard University Graduation in 2008 and is about failure and imagination. I know that I found this book at exactly the right time. I highly recommend it!
How is it October already? Seriously? I feel like I went to sleep in May and have just woken up and we’re less than 100 days until Christmas!
September started with lots of exciting celebrations for Rob’s 30th birthday! We went bowling with friends, then ate Chinese with 36 other family members (his family is that big!) some of my family came too and it was great to see everyone in the same room, a little preview of the wedding. I can’t believe he is 30, we have been together since he was 18, still a teenager! We had the following week off work and relaxed a bit, stayed with his sister for a few days, ate waffles, went shopping, bought a coffee machine, went to a chocolate festival, it was a really nice week off!
September was full of birthdays, we celebrated Rob’s Nan’s birthday a couple of weeks later. All of Rob’s cousins, Aunties and Uncles were there, it was nice to see everyone and celebrate together.
My sister was given a voucher for Afternoon tea as a gift for her birthday and invited me to come along. We’ve never really been on a sister date like that before, so it was nice to really catch up. We don’t see as much of each other now that I’ve moved out so it was really lovely, the mountains of cakes were yummy too!
Other exciting things were; going to try my wedding dress on again and decide some additional things about my outfit for the wedding, Rob and his sister had a Snowboarding lesson, and my Mum, sister and I all watched with chocolate fudge cake. I booked some of the final things for our wedding, we just have the DIY bits and pieces to do now, just the difficult bits. Some less exciting things included deciding to grow my hair and I became a little bit obsessed with coconut oil.
I have also been asked to work on a couple of logos and I’ve started work designing a recipe book for church, it’s all very exciting. A lot of my family members have also been asking what design the calendar will take on for 2016, I’m feeling the pressure to design calendars again and looking forward to it. I better get to work, October is turning out to be busier than September so wish me luck!
I’m always always writing To-Do lists and goals. I write lists for just about everything, plus there’s always a To-Do list in my head that I should really write down but if I did, I’d be going forever! With all these To-Do lists, I’m always running around trying to keep myself busy, in an attempt to get it all done. But what for? who for? Sometimes yes, it is good to get all the jobs done so that I can enjoy time with family and relax but other times, I can be no-stop from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep at night only to do it all again the next day.
I have seen a few things lately that have made me think about this sort of lifestyle:
I read this article at work and had to hold back the tears. It is a very sad but also uplifting article.
One of my friends shared this campaign on Facebook and it really made me think. This is a campaign by Sanctuary Spa, and is encouraging women to #LetGo and focus more on being rather than doing. This video especially stuck with me:
And after reading and watching these, I came across this article which caught my eye. I strive to make my life simpler and gain more balance in my days.
My main problem is that I spend too much of my day thinking about what I need to do. I have a long work day and write a mental (or physical) list of things I could do when I get home. I then have a long journey home, I try to use it as best I can but get home exhausted and not wanting to do anything but go to sleep at 7:30pm. I feel a certain guilt when I don’t do anything of an evening. There are so many projects that I want to do, I see talented people doing great things all over their blogs and shared on twitter, that I feel the need to catch up, to do more and when I do stop, I feel guilty. I shouldn’t!
Over the next few weeks, I really want to rethink the way I do things. To use my time better, so that I have more time for myself, to relax, to chat (in person or on the phone, not online) to draw, to meditate, to practice yoga, to bake and to go out, do things and enjoy myself. However, there is no pressure to do any of this, I don’t need to do it all at once, I just need to chill out a bit and stop worrying that someone might overtake me if I sit and watch a film for a couple of hours and don’t do anything else!
To be honest with you, I haven’t felt like myself recently and after finding these articles and videos, I feel newly inspired to grab life by the you-know-whats and live it! It may seem quite dramatic but I needed a change of perspective and I hope that this is it.
As I mentioned in my Bruges Travel Journal post, last year we went on a huge family holiday. There were 8 of us, some from my family and some from Rob’s family. We planned to stay a week in Orlando, Florida and a week on a cruise around the Caribbean. It was something that I hadn’t done before, some had been to Orlando, some had been on cruises but nothing quite like this. This was probably the biggest holiday I’ve been on and probably won’t go on a holiday as big for a while. So, I wanted to document it in the best way possible. I’ll set this post out in the same way I did with the Bruges and New York Journal, I think that way works and allows me to compare the process, maybe you can too. Would you believe that this holiday was almost a year ago? I finished the journal in about November time, I started writing about it in December and the photos of it were taken in January. This whole actually posting struggle is real! Better late than never, as they say!
Before I went:
I bought a thin plain Moleskine notebook especially for this, I’m slowly running out of plain notebooks/sketchbooks and wanted something versatile and a blank canvas. This book came in a set of three.
We had been planning and looking forward to this trip for over a year and so I wanted that to be part of the journal. I printed photos of the destinations, wrote an itinerary and put that in there, wrote a packing list and put that in too. I also had a countdown on my phone which I took a screenshot of and put that in too. There were a fair few pages done and complete even before we left.
I looked up “directions” between each of our destinations on Google Maps, I took a screenshot of each of these and printed them, I didn’t stick them in just yet but put them in a pocket at the back of the book.
like the Bruges journal, I cut out a piece of card to draw around so that I left space for photos.
I took the usual kit with me, pritt stick, small pair of scissors, pens, coloured pencils. Be careful when taking scissors on a plane, I put my scissors in my hold luggage and brought the rest of my kit in my hand luggage, I didn’t want to chance them being taken off of me.
Whilst we were there:
I enjoyed every single second, I was quite overwhelmed for a while in Orlando because this is something we’ve always wanted to do and we all wanted to fit as much in as possible. I also got a cold and was exhausted most of the time due to excitement and jet lag but made the most of every second!
I took lots of photos, I think over the two weeks I took around 800 photos (in a joint effort between my Nikon S6300 and my iPhone 5s), considering everything we saw and everything we did, I don’t think this was a lot. I’m so glad that I enjoyed every second rather than seeing it all from behind my camera.
I collected EVERYTHING, leaflets, tickets, crazy golf score cards, vouchers, Starbucks sleeves, everything that was vaguely 2D, I collected it! I got a reputation amongt our group that I was the one to give the printed matter to and then everyone was asking about my scrapbook by the end of the holiday. This level of support was great!
I hardly managed to do any physical documenting in the book when we were in Orlando, there was no time, we managed to go to all of the Disney Parks (apart from Typhoon Lagoon) and both Universal parks, all in about 7 days and so it was jam packed with fun!
As soon as we were on the cruise, however, there was a bit more time. I managed to sit in our bedroom one afternoon when the heat got to me a little and stuck loads of stuff that I’d collected in the book, then took the book and a pen out to a sun bed to lounge by the pool and write there too.
I’ve found whilst working on this journal, and travel journals in the past, that I struggle to document things whilst there. The perfect thing to do would be to spend the time on the plane, or on a train or waiting at the airport, drawing, writing, sticking etc but I just can’t do it. I tried on the Eurostar and on the airplane and was struck with a feeling of travel sickness. Then I can’t get settled whilst waiting for a plane, I prefer to just sit or eat or shop!
Once we were home:
I finished off all the writing parts soon after we got back so that it was fresh in my mind
I finished off sticking bits and pieces that I’d collected
it took me a while but I finally printed the photos and stuck those in
I’m so happy that I documented this holiday in this way, it is a priceless activity and I’m so glad I have those little memories written down and captured for years to come when it’s all a distant memory. Plus the whole holiday was amazing, I loved looking forward to it, being there and afterwards, going back through my photos a few times reminising about all those happy memories!
The word I’d use to describe August is exciting. Things are all coming together and I seem to be out of the woods of July. It has been a month filled with making plans. We did a lot of organising for the wedding; I finished designing the Save the Dates and am slowly but surely getting them distributed, we went suit shopping, spoke to a few florists and had ‘address book meetings’ with various members of family to make sure we had everyone’s addresses up to date. We also organised Rob’s 30th birthday which is coming up quickly and I’m really looking forward to it.
“Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans”
We had two weddings that we were invited to this year, both within ten days of each other. They were both lovely. The second one we went to, I was a Bridesmaid and absolutely loved being a bridesmaid and being involved in my best friend’s day. The Bride and Groom were so happy and it was just a perfect day.
I’m not sure what I thought about before being engaged, more or less every thought is about the wedding. I have a tendency to obsess about some decisions, we’re only going to do this once so it has to be perfect, but what I’ve learned recently is to not stress about the small things. I wrote myself a motto, right at the beginning of this process, which said “nothing fancy, just love” and that’s just it.
We have a few big birthdays to celebrate in September and some very busy weekends coming up. I’m looking forward to September and all it brings.
As you can probably tell, I haven’t been too enthusiastic about blogging as of late. I love that I have this space to do what I want with but it just wasn’t happening. So, I wrote down my thoughts about it all after about a month of soul searching:
I don’t have too much time to write huge blog posts This is a big problem for me when it comes to blogging. I get into the habit of writing notes when I’m on the train, I try to take photos when I can, I draw in the evenings but when it comes to putting it all together in coherent blog posts. I’m already onto writing the next thing or onto the next project.
I want to easily share my work I’ve mentioned quite a few times before that I want to share more work here but never really do it! I want to be able to finish something, take a photo, post it! That’s it!
Sometimes I have a few small thoughts, sometimes I want to talk for England!
Instead of having a schedule, I just want to post what I want, when I want. I wasn’t really a rebellious teenager, I think it might be coming out now. This is my space so I should be able to do that. I need to stop worrying that it’s not to a schedule and just get on with actually posting!
So, I’ve decided to do just that, posting when I want and what I want (obviously, within reason) I’m calling this style “on the go blogging”
I think that “on-the-go” blogging will tell the story better than leaving a project until the end and then moving onto something else and forgetting to document it.
And listen up, this is the biggy. It doesn’t need to have images! I would usually find a generic image to go with a post that didn’t really add anything and probably takes away from the post more than adding to it. This probably breaks all the rules of blogging but I hope that the images that I do use, will add value to what I’m writing rather than being there for fun.
I spent most of yesterday evening going through about 5 different new designs for this blog. I wanted a grid-style layout, so that you could see all the most recent posts at a glance. None of the themes quite worked the way I wanted them to and I knew that not all the posts would be image based. I then found this simple minimal theme this morning. It feels like a blank canvas that I can build on.
I hope to create something to be proud of, I hope that you enjoy what’s coming next too. I hope this is a nice new start for the blog, I’m excited!
Wow we’re already in August! July was a good month. I still can’t get over the speed of this year.
The first half of July, I was in a bit of a blur. I questioned everything about myself. Then towards the middle of July, I made some goals and I feel like I have a bit more direction now. I’m drawing more and wondering what I want to do with the blog, so I must be back to normality. I’m hoping that I can open up my Etsy shop sometime in the not so distant future as well, so I must be doing ok.
We went to Go Ape and I celebrated 10,000 of being alive. We celebrated my Sister’s birthday with a shopping trip in London and bought my Mum’s “Mother of the Bride” outfit, which was exciting! I went to my best friends’ Hen Do, which was full of excitement, laughter, games and stories for years to come. I also went for the first fitting of my Wedding dress and loved it more than I remember!
I promised I would write about small positive things that have happened during the week and that hasn’t happened. I’m considering changing the way I blog, hopefully more on that soon.
This is a bit of a rambling post covering just about everything that has been on my mind recently, it’s mostly related!
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I love Time. I talk about it, think about it, worry that there’s not enough of it, I comment on the days between things, I count down, I count up, I even LOVE it when I spot the clock at 3:33 or 11:11, you may think I’m obsessed.
On the 5th July was my 10,000 day birthday, I had been on this earth for exactly 10,000 days! I wanted to celebrate in some way, I wanted to make a cake and write some things about the last 10,000 days. It just so happened that it was the day we’d planned to go to Go Ape for my sister’s birthday! I was terrified but did it! I didn’t make a cake and I didn’t get chance to sit down and write, the whole day was spent either being terrified or quality time with family, which is what it’s all about!
You’ve seen me mention a quarter life crisis and I can say from experience that it is real! According to my extensive google search, a quarter life crisis can happen in your 20s-early 30s. It is usually around the time that you’ve moved out, left education and are in the first few years of work. It’s when you realise “this is it now, I’m a grown up” there are chores to be done, bills to pay, and one has to stay alive (ie. Feed yourself!) it all sounds so basic, I felt like I was struggling with the idea but I can do this stuff, it’s silly to feel worried!
For me, it all started with a twitchy eye lid, this usually means one of three things. I was either stressed, not sleeping enough or not eating properly. At the time, it could have been all three! I didn’t feel happy, I felt over the moon happy that Rob and I owned our own home, that Rob and I were together and planning our wedding, things were amazing really but there was something deep down that I didn’t feel so happy about, and it took me a while to realise what it was.
I realised that actually, this had been going on for a while. I felt useless because I spend so much time out of the house working and commuting. I didn’t have the time or energy to cook dinner or wash up when I got home, all I’d do is watch TV and wouldn’t be any use to anyone. That was the main problem but I started to think that there was something wrong with me, was I just useless? Had I missed something that everyone else seems to be able to do quite easily? I started to doubt myself as a person, I started to doubt my lifestyle and started to doubt my ability as a designer due to things happening at work. It was all very horrible and confusing.
I had in my mind that my 10,000 day birthday was coming up and wondered how I’d feel when that day came around. I was half looking forward to it, because it was a mini celebration, and half dreading it because we were going to Go Ape. I’d been to Go Ape twice before and was too scared to join in! But it was booked, I was doing it whether I liked it or not and actually it was great fun! I feel like I really conquered some fears that day! I felt so proud of myself. Even if I didn’t do the big Tarzan swing that drops you about 5 feet before you feel it take your weight, I’m glad I didn’t do that bit in fact!
Slowly but surely things started to fall into place. I started to appreciate where I am now and what I’m doing right now. I slowly felt incredibly thankful for everything I’ve got. This didn’t happen over night of course and it didn’t happen without trying incredibly hard to change my perspective on life. I now feel inspired to work on personal projects, I’m excited about planning our wedding after a little break, I’m also determined not to slip back into just watching TV of an evening and live a life!
Everyday I feel a little bit closer to “figuring it out” and finding my purpose. I know that no-one really has it all figured out but I felt like I knew nothing and now I’m inspired to learn! I can’t just let life pass me by and feel unhappy about it in the meantime.
One thing I’ve found really useful is thinking about the positive things, and feeling thankful for what I have. It was a year ago that I wrote 3 positive things that had happened on Facebook everyday for a week, they could be tiny or huge things. Sometimes the small positive things are all it takes to lift up a day. So, I want to do something similar here on the blog, maybe weekly. This is also a little bit inspired by Lorna‘s “Reasons to smile” posts every Sunday, I enjoy reading the posts and want to join in.
Wow! So that was June! I probably say this every time but this time I really mean it: June actually flew by! I’m glad about that to be honest because it has been difficult in so many ways.
In saying that, things are definitely on the up I think or at least moving in the right direction.
I started designing our Wedding stationery, I know it is probably really early but I just wanted to get started. I started some other wedding related crafts and stressed about the wedding colour scheme irrationally for a while. We finally decided on a Bridesmaid dress for my sister to wear, I love the dress so much, I want one for myself in every colour. I then stressed again about the colour scheme because this dress wasn’t anything like what I imagined but in a way, it’s better and I feel like it was meant to be!
After finding “the dress” finally, I’ve decided to take a complete break from Wedding planning for a while. The irrational stressing was, well, irrational and unnecessary. I can go back to wedding planning at any time with a fresh mind.
I also had what I think was a bit of a quarter life crisis throughout June, hence the delay in posting this. It is a real thing (I googled it!) and it is horrible! I really hope that I’m coming to the end of it!