Monday, 19 May 2014

is this thing on?

Apparently we're experiencing a heat wave.

Today was the first day back at work since this "heat wave" started (I mean, it's nice weather but I would by no means call it a heat wave). 

I have an hour commute to work each way and lately I've been spending it reading books because I've challenged myself to reading more this year than I did last. This morning, however, I decided I wanted to catch up on my unread posts on bloglovin. I am terrible at being consistent in my reading of bloglovin posts. I let them pile up and pile up until there is no end in sight and I end up just marking everything read and then just missing everything. I must get better at that.

As I was finishing I took notice of how nice the sun felt on my face, how I could feel the heat through the window and let my eyes slide shut. I was listening to the beautiful Tim's House by Kate Walsh and I pumped it up so the little notification turned yellow to warn me that I was heading into the land of "high volume" and enjoyed the vitamin D.

I used to hate closing my eyes in any form of public setting. Remember back in school when for whatever reason your teacher got a bright idea and said, "Now class, I want you all to shut your eyes and imagine..." my reaction was always "Nope, not happening, not with these bozos in my class."

But now that I've been commuting 2 hours a day for nearly 4 months (as of this week! When did that happen??) and rare is a day when I don't at least doze for 5 minutes. So it was especially nice this morning to be able to do it with the insides of my eyelids blazing orange and feeling the warmth of summer timidly coming to say hello. 

I took a photo this morning in the park but it really doesn't look all that impressive looking at it now (don't you hate when that happens? You take a photo of a beautiful moment or scene and you look back at it afterwards and it kind of looks... flat?

Anyway, here, have one of the king of the household catching some rays on the balcony a few weeks ago. I think it's pretty happy summer's on its way.


Sunday, 5 January 2014

New Ventures!

It's been a bit of radio silence around here for... a good few months. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and are excited for the opportunities that come with the clean slate of January (of course you can start a clean slate any time of year but there's just something that feels special about a new year, right?) 

I personally spent New Years Eve at home, working hard in my living room. I had been thinking over the last couple of days what I wanted to achieve in 2014 and how I was going to do it. I don't want to call them resolutions because I feel like there are so many bad connotations to resolutions and it's like there's this big joke that we all make them and they last two weeks into January before we collectively give up. What I was working on was a plan to breathe some life back into my... uh, life. I've now been unemployed for 6 months and it's honestly starting to get really old so I wanted to take the opportunity to do something amazing. 

I decided to map out some work-related goals (namely, find a job!) and some personal goals that I wanted to work on in the near and distant future. Knowing that you have to keep working at your goals little by little to have a better chance of achieving them, I also have plans of sitting down at the start of each month to take stock and think what I need to do in that particular month to get me a little bit closer. (Is my inner Virgo showing here? I'm actually a Leo but right on the cusp and I definitely think it has affected my personality!)

So, on Tuesday afternoon I had the crazy idea that I should start the year out as I mean to go on and get one of my goals live right on the stroke of midnight. This goal in question was to open my etsy shop. It's something I've been meaning to do literally for years, but especially in recent months when my cousin's husband told me that the next time he saw me he wanted me to have started my business (and then sent me a Facebook message a few months later asking how it was going!)

Now, I don't know that I necessarily consider this a business, at least not right now, but it definitely has the power to become that - I also have a crazy amount of apple stickies with plans for how I want to expand in the future. For now though I'm happy for it to be my little side venture... that I'm actually secretly (or not so, seeing as this is the internet) very proud of.

As you can imagine, deciding to launch this shop mere hours before the clock struck twelve, I wasn't exactly prepared. I'd been designing the prints that I wanted to sell for a good few months but I had never sold anything on etsy before and had no idea how it worked. I did my homework, writing copious notes to myself to make sure I understood (because I am a big nerd) and was still trying to sort everything out with five minutes to go but... I'm proud to say that I managed to get everything done and dusted and pressed the "publish" button just as the rest of the country were ringing in the new year with kisses and alcoholic beverages. I didn't even have a glass of champagne!

So, without further ado, I present to you my most recent achievement (may there be many more this year)... my etsy shop! You can either click the image below or here for the link.


Saturday, 14 September 2013

this is probably a tl;dr but...

Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself here, but I feel like I'm finally coming into myself, at least a little bit.

I know it's something I've mentioned on the blog before, but your twenties are the time for you to go out into the world and make mistakes and find yourself (as silly as that expression may be). I feel like I'm now maybe coming to realise that that's what's happening to me.

I recently turned 23 (like, last month recently) and I have to say, I wasn't a fan. I was kind of depressed around the time of my birthday and I didn't want to be yet another year older without really having changed that much since last year or the year before. It's entirely possible that the fact that I still had no idea what I wanted to do, that my friendships were kind of on the downturn and some other personal relationships weren't (aren't) where I'd like them to be had a part to play in my feelings but there's no point trying to analyse.

Being that I'm in this state of unemployment and still living with my mother, it's given us a lot of opportunity to have discussions about life and what I'm going to do and where I've come from. It's kind of weird to write about, but I guess this is a personal blog and I'm free to do what I want with it – she was saying that when I was little she was afraid that I was going to be a bit of a pushover in later life because I was always so calm with the people and other kids that I interacted with. It turns out, however, that that's not the case.

The conversation got me to thinking about it and I'm proud to say that I think she's right. There are actually a few things that have got me thinking in the same vein that I've come across lately – maybe it's that I'm more attuned to it because of the conversation or I'm subconsciously seeking out websites and videos that are related. 

One of these things is a video that I watched on Garance DorĂ©'s youtube channel which was a recording of a Google Hangout session she hosted. It was all about career and professional life as opposed to regular everyday life/fashion advice, but one of the things she said (and yes, I took notes, because I'm a geek, but I'm paraphrasing) was “to me, a brand is values, you need to figure out what you are but more importantly what you're not and what you don't want. That defines what you do and helps people understand you”

Okay, she was saying this in regards to a brand or what you put out professionally but I think it also applies on a personal level. That and the conversation with my mother made me realise that I while I may not know what I do want at all times, I do know what I don't want, or what I don't agree with. I am the kind of girl that will stand up for things if she believes strongly enough in them, or will get into arguments (with some people more than others) if there is a sense of injustice or just... stupidity. One of my favourite quotes is “I didn't always know what I wanted to do, but I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be” - Diane von Furstenberg (find more DVF quotes here - I think she's fabulous and I kind of want her to be like, my wise and fashionable aunt or something) 

I found it when I was clearing out my mum's desk a few weeks ago and it struck me because this was back still when I had no clue but I remember thinking "surely that's the most important thing I can do - to find the kind of woman I want to be, the kind of values I want to have and be sure of that, and then I'll be set for whatever life has to throw at me"

Finally, one last point I'd like to cover was from a conversation I had tonight - so, okay, I have an idea of what I want to do at the moment, how I can envisage my life and career developing at the moment. The thing is that it doesn't matter if 5 or 10 years down the line I change my mind and go in a completely different direction - nothing is set in stone when it comes to career and it is never too late to change what I want to do. The thing that is important, the thing I want set in stone is the kind of person I am.

I guess the point of me posting all this was for anyone who happens to be reading this, especially if you're in your twenties and feeling a bit lost - don't stress too much about knowing what you want to do for the rest of your life right now. That's gonna change. I think it's ridiculous that in the UK we're asked to figure out what we want to do with ourselves when we're 14 choosing our options for GCSEs - I wanted to be a graphic designer back then and while I think it would be really cool to do still, I know a lot of people my age are doing things with themselves that have absolutely nothing to do with what they studied when they were fifteen/sixteen. I'm getting kind of like a broken record here, but I really think that the most important thing to do is figure out who you are as a person and the rest will come to you. Just go out and enjoy life, keep your eyes open for opportunities and inspiration will strike. 

(did I sound too much like a self help book here?)

:)

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Friday, 6 September 2013

life lately & lightbulbs


So I figured it was time to stop being all doom and gloom and oh poor me I don't know what to do with myself and post something positive! 

Starting off on a not so positive note, my Canon 50D (aka my baby, my pride and joy) decided to give up the ghost recently so I have been without DSLR. I didn't realise how much I would miss it, considering I can't really remember the last time I properly picked it up, but I guess as the saying goes, you don't know what you have till it's gone. When we were on holiday I was primarily shooting with my Mamiya SLR, which actually was kind of a blessing because I've missed shooting film, as well as my phone.

We've been back a few weeks but I wanted to share a few photos from the trip, as well as two others from when I went to see my Nanna two weeks ago. She has two big apple trees in her garden... she gave me a few (cough).

Also, in terms of lightbulbs, I had one the other day. 

The parts that I really enjoyed about my last job were the customer service and the actual organisation of the workshops. This then made me think a little bit more seriously about what I want to look for other than "oh, you know, admin... client service... that kind of thing" and it clicked! Events organisation! It's perfect! I like organisation (um... a lot) and having a project and getting things sorted to make a project/event go perfectly. 

Duh.

And to be fair I did look into this a few weeks ago but all the adverts I found were asking for specific experience, which with the way my CV was worded, you wouldn't think it. But now I've reworded it and I'm going for more of the assistant positions to then be able to work my way up. 

It feels good to have a bit of a plan. 

I mean, a tiny one but still...

Saturday, 31 August 2013

so... change of plans?

(This post is surprisingly difficult for me to write and publish)

There's this thing I do, you might be familiar with it... It's called, I'm 23 (!!!) and have no idea where I'm going or what I'm doing with my life. So I changed my mind and my plans.

I decided not to go to Paris right now. I still really, really, really want to go. Something in my gut is telling me it's not the right time and a small part of me thinks I should probably tell my gut to shut up but. Did I mention I'm 23 and I have no idea what I'm doing with my life?

It's weird, I feel like I have to justify my decisions on the Internet (and to everyone else I speak to because apparently everyone has an opinion) but I just deleted an entire paragraph of explanations, which definitely felt like I was justifying but I'm not sure who I was trying to justify it to - the Internet or myself? It's ridiculous, I'm the only person whose life is affected by this decision but I feel the need to make everyone understand. 

Part of me thinks "but this is the time when you have nothing holding you back! you can go now and not worry about a job keeping you here, or a partner, or (not right now anyway) children" and then I feel like a failure because I backed out without a lot of persuasion because I'm scared and I let that fear take over. I completely ignored my own comments in a post a few weeks back about "feel the fear and do it anyway". I ignored the way I was brought up and it's only upon reflection and self-involved blogging that I've realised it. 

I feel like being in your 20s is all about being confused and bumbling through and not really knowing what you're doing. I didn't really feel it before, and maybe that's because I had a job, but I turned 23 last week and I've gotta say, I'm not a fan at the moment. 

Anyway. 

I'm staying in London, for now anyway, and the sensible thing to do will be to save up any and all money I get my hands on so that one day I can say "okay that's it, I'm off". So that's what I'm going to do.

For a while now I've been working on designing some Christmas cards and prints to sell on etsy, as well as some other lyric prints and random custom things. When I have that all set up, I'll be sure to link it and promote the shit out of it.

I'm done for now, if you've read through this ridiculously pathetic post, I salute you and also recommend that you go get a hobby or something - there has to be something more interesting you can be doing with your life?


Sunday, 23 June 2013

dreamscaping


We all know it's important to have a plan in life. "A goal without a plan is just a dream." 

Okay, great, got it. 

But what if you don't even have a dream? I have spent so long just going along with the flow and not really thinking about what I want that now when I get asked (and I have been getting asked a lot, going to interviews) I just draw a blank. I decided the other day to go about it the most logical way and start thinking about - if money were no object and I could do whatever I wanted, what would be the most amazing life for me? What would I want to do with myself and where would I want to do it?

And when I have that, I can start thinking about how I go about getting it. 

In my craziest of dreams, I work for myself. I live in a beautiful apartment in Paris with nobody but my kitten. I spend my days walking around barefoot in pretty girly dresses and get to work with a cup of sugary milky coffee at my white Ikea desk.

I am a freelance writer, design prints to sell on etsy and am a consultant for people struggling with brand identity. I have an iMac, all paid for. I have no debts hanging over my head. I take pictures for fun again. I go out into the street every day just to get fresh (ish) air and inhale my city.

So, that's the dream. But what do I do to get to the point where it's a reality?

I'm lucky to be in the position that I am completely capable of just going out there right now (or you know, in two weeks) and just live. Like a trial period, I can go and spend a month couch surfing and force myself to go out every day and find stuff to do, find people to meet, maybe go to see agencies and see if I can find myself a job in a cool company that is vaguely creative. I think that'll be the only way I can work in an office in France, but more on that later. 

I was just talking about this with the mother and it's really, really terrifying, but I've been brought up on the saying "feel the fear and do it anyway" (thanks Susan Jeffers) so I'm trying not to think too much about it.

My next step needs to be to have a concrete plan with timelines and everything for when I want to do things. And then stick to it, because knowing myself, I'm likely to try to put it off until a later (fictional) time when I feel slightly more confident.

I found a Kyoko Escamilla quote on tumblr that I need to remind myself of -

"Your 20s are your 'selfish' years. It's a decade to immerse yourself in every single thing possible. Be selfish with your time, and all the aspects of you. Tinker with shit, travel, explore, love a lot, love a little, and never touch the ground."

Basically, I just need to get out there, right?