self discovery

Things to inspire and enjoy | March 2017


  Things to inspire and enjoy: March 2017. Including inspiring talks, design documentaries, and a felt cactus

Oh March, you bringer of Spring, you. Still a coats and scarf kind of a month, but with enough sun peeking through the clouds and warming our backs to give us hope for the new season. Another funny old month (looking like the theme for 2017 so far), I slowly regained some of the positivity February cruelly stole, continuing to make self-care a big priority and start thinking more deeply about my spending. For that reason, I quit my yoga studio 🙁 Despite my love for Triyoga, I simply could no longer justify the £100/month price tag out of the measly salary I have left after rent, bills etc. So I diligently stuck to Yoga with Adrienne’s Yoga Revolution course on YouTube, making a ritual out of getting on the mat for half an hour after work each day, in a quiet space in the bedroom where the light gently glows as the day ends. At the moment, I prefer practising alone – the bus journeys and crowded classes were starting to bug me – and I think it’s good to mix up your routine once in a while anyway. Other good things included getting ma hair did (annual event. Greys be gone!), finishing off a couple of pieces for issue 7 of The Holborn and reading ‘The Muse‘ by Jessie Burton (I much preferred it to The Miniturist actually).   

inspired by…

Make it happen: give up your day job | (A Betty Magazine presents The Girls Club event) I’ve long since seen the irony of interviewing others who have given up their day job to pursue something more fulfilling whilst I am yet to do the same (No savings! What could I do that would actually pay my rent? etc etc). So I gave myself a little kick up the bum and bought a ticket to this event at Hackney Walk one Sunday afternoon. It was mainly the line-up of amazing speakers that did it: Sara Tasker of Me & Orla fame; Emma Gannon whose podcast Crtl Alt Delete I’ve just started listening to and Dolly Alterton, a journalist & TV person whose Sunday Times Style dating column I’d read for years.  All ladies who gave up their stable full-time jobs and have watched their careers flourish ever since. I wouldn’t say there was any ground-breaking advice, but then I don’t suppose there is any really: the general message was Work Really Hard. Plus…

  • Lay the foundations for a freelance career whilst still working until you’re in a position to cut back to 4 days a week (Daisy), but bear in mind that working full-time also rather liberates you in your freelance work as there’s not so much pressure and money is not as important (Emma).
  • Sara made the point that building a portfolio career is great if you lose interest in one of your services for a while as you can simply concentrate on a different avenue instead.
  • All three women made it clear they didn’t make the leap until they were earning as much on the side as they were in the permanent positions.

I particularly found Dolly’s honesty about the ups and downs, feast and famine reality of being a freelance journalist something to really ponder on. It actually made me feel a little nervous about one day working for myself but as they say – do something that scares you.

Being a Betty event, there were of course many beautiful things to photograph and a lovely little goody bag to take home too. This is the second Girls Club event I’ve been to and I highly recommend them for a quick boost of inspiration and enthusiasm.

Makelight Membership | This was a very early birthday present from my parents to boost my confidence in working towards being self-employed. If you’ve never heard of Makelight, a quick run-down: run by Emily Quinton, a talented photographer, and her husband Stef, who used to run a design agency, they’ve brought their knowledge together to create an online community of courses aimed at creative small business owners. March was the start of a branding course called ‘Bloom’ and featured videos and exercises to get you thinking about what your brand is and how to start building it. Within the first few exercises I realised something I find quite embarrassing: nothing on my blog or social media actually makes it clear what service I offer (writing for small designer-makers businesses). Picking apart my social media feeds also made it clear I’m simply not making it obvious who I am, what I’m about and what I offer. This *clearly* will not get me closer to the self-employed goal. So let’s say I have a lot to think about and work on in the coming months…

I enjoyed…

Felt cactus making workshop | (Etsy Made Local London Local Team event) I was very kindly invited along as a design blogger to use my (very basic) skills in creating a plant I cannot kill! Taught by the lovely Zoe from Too Cute to Quit (who was one of the first people I ever interviewed for Meet the Makers), a group of crafty ladies sat down in Nanna’s Cafe to stitch up our own evergreen cacti. I’ve been terrible at sitting down and making anything recently, so it was really great to have some scheduled time in the diary to fully focus on creating. Following Zoe’s instructions and slowly stitching up Clive the Cactus, I chatted away to bloggers Natasha, Uli and Shelley, I sadly didn’t get so far as dressing Clive in fancy flowers, but I was *super* chuffed with what I’d managed to achieve in just a few hours. It was a great reminder that for me, being creative is all about following precise instructions and being given the exact materials I need, ha! (Seriously, I bloomin’ love following instructions. If anyone needs flatpack assistance, I’m your gal). I really like the community that London Local creates – it makes the vastness of Etsy much more accessible and personal. For  interviews with some London Local members, check my interview page, and keep any eye on their website for their next event. Abstract: The Art of Design | (Netflix documentary). Episode 1 looks at illustrator Christoph Niemann, who has illustrated 22 covers for The New Yorker. On inspiration he quotes Chuck Close:’ ‘ Inspiration is for amateurs. As professionals, we just go to work in the morning.’ The one thing I really love about that quote is it relieves you of a lot of pressure. It’s not about waiting for hours for this moment where inspiration strikes. It’s just about showing up and getting started, and then something amazing happens or it doesn’t happen. All that matters is you enable the chance for something to happen.‘ Check out his IG handle @abstractsundays for more illustration and clever sketches. ‘Every athlete, every musician, practises every day. Why should it be any different for artists?’

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