Overwhelmed much?

18th October 2014

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don’t often get overly personal in this space and really I don’t often go into details about my freelance work either. There have been many ups and downs since spreading my wings and going it alone, somewhat like a hormonal pregnant lady watching a rom com. The short response is I love it!…But the longer response would be that most of the time I feel totally overwhelmed and the last few weeks have been that x 20.

I’ll let you into a secret…I’m not great at multi tasking and what I really mean is poor would be an understatement. I’m hoping that some crazy miracle will put that right if I ever become a Mum but for now I seem to be lacking that feminine trait. Somewhere along the way I worked out that for someone who’s totally unorganised, forgetful and unable to process more than one thing at a time, lists were going to become a dear friend. So I endlessly write lists on anything and everything whether that’s job stuff or just who I need to text back and to a degree I seem to be able to fool people into thinking I’m an organised kind of gal. The truth is I still struggle.

Stepping into the full time freelancing world meant swapping one job role for about eight instead. Obviously of all the hats I have to wear Designer and Blogger are the most fun but then you need to throw PR, Accountant, Packing Assistant, Technical Assistant and Receptionist into the mix. I’m sure there are others too. Sometimes I feel a bit like my head isn’t big enough to contain all of these aspects of life even with my beloved lists. Then I look around and wonder is anyone else feeling this too? People say pay someone to do some of the other things or even get a cleaner so that doesn’t take hours out but who is really in the position to do that when their starting out as a small business? It’s great advice for further down the line but not so much now.

Another thing I’ve been contending with since going it alone is that I feel like progress is so slow. In my old job I used to feel like a pretty fast worker. I’d get the job done, easily meet deadlines and walk away at the end of each day with not a thought about workload in my brain. Now, I feel like I’m in a dream. You know, one of the ones where you’re running but your legs feel soooo heavy that you can barely pick them up. I work much longer hours than before and yet feel like I’m moving nowhere fast. I hear ya, it’s probably because I’m much more emotionally and personally invested in my work but it’s a shift. I really don’t think I could do this kind of work if I didn’t believe that God was author of each day with all it’s joys as well as it’s limitations. Thats the place I find peace when I’m looking at my list thats getting longer rather than shorter. I’ve never prayed so much about work as now or seen so clearly my tendency to take everything on my own back and panic rather than trusting the God who’s in control and provides.

I love the work I get to do. I love that the times I spend being creative are exactly that. I love that I care about what I do and that I get to work from home. I also love the God led me into this and has kept me here despite me pushing other doors just incase…but man it’s hard. I’m realising more and more that I’m human i.e finite (obvious I know), that prioritising is a skill I will be honing for the rest of my life, as a boss I’m super hard on myself and for the most part, figuring things outs as I go along is the nature of this business. I’m learning loads! I’m excited as to where this will lead as business does seem to be growing. I’m writing this ironically having been blessed with my best month yet by far (phew) and there’s tons to be thankful for. Sometimes I just need to step away from the canvas and take some time to look at the picture.

On that note it’s back to work, thankful to know I’m not alone or doing this by accident and praying for running legs!

Laura Ashley: Handmade Christmas

16th October 2014

Laura Ashley Handmade Christmas 1

Photos by the Laura Ashley team

You may have seen by my instaspamming that I was invited to join some other lovely bloggers at Laura Ashley’s Handmade Christmas a week ago. The event was held at Homemade London, a short walk from Marble Arch and was the perfect venue for such an extravaganza. It was pretty surreal to walk into such a magical winter wonderland when I hadn’t even given a moments thought to Christmas yet. Yes, I know , slap on the wrist…and my undesigned Christmas cards say the same. But anyway the festive music, mince pies, mulled wine, tartan and super sparkly decorations were fab, even if I was only just dusting off my winter boots. Part of me started longing for a freak snow flurry outside.

It was a great chance to meet some of the faces behind emails and some other bloggers I’ve never met in person (such is the game). The Lipstick and Curls girls were there to transform our hair into retro bouffant up dos (I wish I could backcomb like those ladies) and the Photo Automattey photo booth provided endless giggles, mainly because it gave you little to no warning of when it would actually snap (can you tell). There was also an array of Christmas crafts to try our hand at, all led by the Homemade London team. I got as far as decorating a stocking for the hubby and didn’t even make it to the card making or floral headband tables. That’s what happens when you’re talking too much. Or perhaps it was the super sparkly tablecloth that was distracting / mesmerizing me.

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Captured in these thoroughly flattering photos is myself, The Planned Adventure, Aspiring Kennedy & Emma Block

There was also a chance to see some of the new Laura Ashley Winter home ware and Christmas decorations. I have to say I’m a ‘gold’ girl through and through and silver never usually takes my fancy but I was so drawn to the sparkly mass of silver glitter on white in their displays. I pulled out some of these pretties for you to feast your eyes on. Oooo look at them sparkle!

Laura Ashley celebrate in silver

 

Glitter pine cone decoration / 2 Ombre sparkle candle set of 3 / 3 Snowflake placemats / 4 Snow Globe  / 5 Letter bunting

Thanks Laura Ashley for such a fun night!

roll up, roll up

13th October 2014

Necklaces for sale

Hello! Hope you all had lovely weekends. I bring you something nice for a bleak Monday like today. Remember these DIY tube necklaces I made for you about a month ago? Well if you’re the kind of person that enthusiastically pins DIYs all day long but never actually gets round to making them then now there are some available for you to buy!…hey, I get it, life is just too busy for cracking out the fimo sometimes. I have 9 to sell for just £12 including postage.

Polymer clay tube bead necklace with metallic gold spray painted half in granite (6 available) or white marble (3 available). Gold plated 18″ chain with clasp.

If you fancy nabbing yourself one of these then simply email stating the colour you’d like and your Paypal email address. First come first served!

a nod to the british seaside

7th October 2014

quinoa crusted fish and chips 1

Here’s some hearty grub for this blanket inducing weather. Every one knows Britain for it’s fish and chips by the sea and whilst great every now and again, I’ve created a healthier version with much less grease but no less flavour. This meal is so satisfying and quinoa is a great source of protein. I would nearly always choose sweet potatoes over standard potatoes. The sweetness makes a meal much more interesting and the cornmeal gives it a crispy coating. Nick and I wolfed this down a few saturdays ago. Find the full recipe over at Aspiring Kennedy blog right here. I experienced the lovely Lauren’s cooking last week and it was delightful. Spanish chicken with roasted potatoes, peppers and chorizo and whole baked apple dumplings for pudding mmmm. Enjoy.

quinoa crusted fish and chips 2

styling the seasons – october

2nd October 2014

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Happy October! Here’s my Styling The Seasons contribution for this month. As I said before, I’ve got to the stage where I’m ready for Autumn in full pelt now. Wading through leaves, hot teas, cosy scarves and donning a blanket when reading all sound rather appealing right now. I wish the weather would catch up with the month already. I’m not so excited about losing light hours but perhaps all the pumpkin related recipes and beautiful colours in the trees will make up for it. I find it amazing that every year without fail God moves us from one season to another. For me it’s a reminder that he’s constant, creative and in control of all of nature.

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If you want to play then style a surface, upload an image and tag Katy from Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte from Lotts and lots on social media and use #StylingTheSeasons.

something for your screen

30th September 2014

paint me a pattern free desktop wallpaper

Hello again! Just about got this new desktop wallpaper in before the end of the month. It’s almost time for October to begin! Well, go ahead and enjoy your monthly dose of pattern for your screen. All you need to do is download the free desktop wallpapers right here.

plant it pretty

29th September 2014

diy rope planter 1

Sometimes DIY projects take a long time to make it onto this space. I thought this up ages ago but only managed to make it a month ago on holiday and I’m only getting round to posting it now!  Everyone loves a hanging planter these days, so here’s a rope inspired version complete with colour blocking effect. Mine turned out to be quite mini (as I didn’t buy enough rope) but you can make it whatever size you want.

You’ll need…

  • A length of braided rope (check you have enough to wrap around your bowl)
  • bowl or pot (roughly the size you want your planter)
  • craft paint & paint brush/sponge
  • gold embroidery thread
  • macrame thread & wide needle
  • glue gun

instructions

To make…

  1. Firstly mix your paint colours and paint blocks of each colour along the length of the rope. Leave to dry.
  2. Wrap the gold thread in sections along the rope and secure well with a knot.
  3. Cover a bowl in cling film and heat the glue gun.
  4. Start by twisting a section of the rope into a tight coil and secure to the outer bottom part of the bowl with glue. The cling film will form a barrier between the bowl and the rope/glue.
  5. Continue to follow the rope around in a spiral, glueing sections as you go. When you reach the top tuck the end you no longer have a need for the bowl. Discard and glue the last bit of the rope to the inside.
  6. Using the wide needle, thread through the top of the rope planter and pull so that there is a long length coming out from either side of the rope. Do the same at two other points around the planter so that the threads are evenly spaced.
  7. Tie a knot on each length to secure and then gather each length of thread up to a point and either tie here or tie half way up and and finish off with a series of knots.
  8. Know you can sit your plant inside and hang where you’d like. The cling film should waterproof the inside.

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Give it ago and brighten up a corner of your home. I’ll focus on trying not to kill my plant! That’s my speciality after all.

an autumnal soiree

26th September 2014

Autumn Entertaining

So for the first year in a long time I’m embracing Autumn. Maybe it’s something to do with not having been on a soaked holiday that’s made the transition a lot easier, I’m not sure. Now I’m just thinking ‘hurry up, get a bit colder so I can get my coats out again.’ Anything in between is just plain confusing. In this autumnal spirit I thought I’d gather together some items to help inspire a spot of Autumn entertaining. Not that you need to go to town every time you have people over but sometimes it’s nice to put a bit of effort in. I enjoy that sort of thing.

  1. Try making a pine cone garland. It’s probably one of the simplest DIYs you could ever make and it’s essentially free.
  2. Why not give the plain white bowls a rest and try these gorgeous ink affect hand painted porcelain bowls. The colours are so striking along with that shot of gold.
  3. Bring food out on a wooden serving board to add an element of rustic, laid back charm. No need to plate everything up before hand.
  4. Tie everything together with a linen table runner. Table runners really do make dinners a bit special.
  5.  It’s pumpkin season. That time of year when Pinterest goes crazy cuckoo with thousands of pumpkin drinks, meals & desserts filling up feeds everywhere. Why not try this pumpkin ricotta gnocci with pancetta and seared radiccio recipe.
  6. Brighten up the centre of the table with some seasonal flowers. Dhalias are about at this time of year and make beautifully big blooms for a centre piece. Arrange them in something sweet like this blue spotted clay vase.
  7. For so many years I had an aversion to candle stick holders and now I love them. Tie the metallics in with this metal candle holder.
  8. Sip your tipple out of a gold rimmed goblet. Classy.

 

Laura Ashley guest DIY post

24th September 2014

Laura Ashley guest DIY

So after such a lovely introduction on the Laura Ashley blog as their Blogger Crush for September, I now get to share a DIY tutorial I worked on for their ‘Make & Do’ category as well. *Disclaimer my old friends spray paint is well and truly involved.

Learn how to make this show stopper cake stand as well as patterned paper flowers to create a pretty cake topper. Both are very easy to make and will add a bit of something extra to your party table. Take a look at the full tutorial here. Thanks Laura Ashley for having me.

And just to let you into the reality behind the polished illusion of styling I often create, that cake was only half iced for the camera angle and was promptly thrown in the bin afterwards as in my cooking haste it was still a little raw in the middle, yum. Sometimes I have to laugh at the notion of styling (even though I love it) so it’s only fair that you do too.

Hobbycraft Giveaway

18th September 2014

sewing machine giveaway 1

My first sewing machine was actually a ‘hand me down’ from my Mum which I think was a ‘hand me down’ from my Grandma. As you can imagine it looked like it belonged in a museum, however that didn’t curb my enthusiasm for the potential to make things. Mum sat and taught me how to use it around the time I took up Textiles for GCSE and lets just say I didn’t take to it like a duck to water. When I got to college I got a brand new sewing machine which was very exciting. The fact it no longer required me to physically turn the dial each stitch when the needle inevitably got stuck, made sewing suddenly a whole lot more appealing. If you see my college projects/sketchbooks I sewed on EVERYTHING. I didn’t care if it was paper, a piece wasn’t finished until it had some neon stitches added to it.

There was once a time when I thought I’d go into fashion design (splutter). Thankfully I was steered away from that idea by my college tutor…phew. I definitely aint’ cut out for that world and I was still no whizz on the sewing machine but I did carry on getting lots of use out of it. Stitch featured heavily in all my uni projects and then post uni it came in handy too. Being a broke graduate meant getting very thrifty, changing old skirts into dresses, trousers into summer shorts and making £2 T-shirts into waist skirts.

Since then my sewing machine has been endlessly useful for little DIY projects like the fruit purses and phone pouch above, styling jobs and altering my charity shop finds from enormous tents to something wearable. There are so many simple projects to get you going on a sewing machine like cushion covers, wall hangings and tote bags. It’s soooo handy to have if you’re even the teeniest bit crafty.

So I’m very excited to announce this sewing machine give away in association with Hobbycraft! Check out this beaut Singer 3210 that’s up for grabs. You can take a closer look here. It’s a brilliant machine whether you’re a beginner or professional and it’s got flashes of hot pink on the body. Need I say more.

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Even if you don’t win the giveaway, Hobbycraft have this very handy sewing machine guide to help you pick the right machine to buy. It’s pretty thorough and will leave you with a much better idea for sure.

So if you fancy winning this sparkly new machine then all you need to do is enter via Punch Tab below. The competition will run for a week but I’m afraid it’s just open to anyone with a UK address. Get entering!