What's the point?

A few weeks ago I wrote this post and didn't get round to posting it and I guess I was a bit nervous about posting it as it was quite personal, but then I read this post by Belinda and was inspired by her courage (she had been scared to share her post too!). So I thought why not share what I have been struggling with as well because I think in reality they are similar struggles to others. I think it always helps when you realise that other people are dealing with and working through similar things to you. 

Sometimes I start to wonder what the point is when It comes to my creative work. It just seems that there are so many people out there doing a similar thing to me and frankly doing it better - I wonder if there's room for me? And if another person doing this sort of thing is needed. I start looking at all the people doing it better and sometimes think I shouldn't bother. 

But then I remember that it is not just about what I produce and bring into the world creatively - it is also about the journey and the act of creating. And I LOVE it - and so I guess giving up is not really an option because there would be a hole/a void in my life. 

Before the Internet I guess there were still people all over the world working on similar goals as you and me, but we didn't know about it - but now everybody is sharing their work online and has a website, Twitter and Instagram. 

I suppose as I kind of mentioned above I am writing this in the spirit of authenticity and honesty. The last couple of weeks have been a bit tough creatively - I have been questioning what I have to offer, what I can bring to this global creative community that is new and fresh and am I good enough? I guess we all have days like this and the Internet is full of people reminding each other that 'comparison is the thief of joy'.

So what can I do about it? I wrote a little while ago about learning to live with less - and I think in my head when I wrote that I was really talking about physical objects - i.e. not needing as many possessions - but I need to remember I am a consumer too when it comes to the Internet. I think it is amazing that so many people can share their creativity, their writing and their journey online, (and that is exactly what I am doing here) but maybe I have a responsibility to my creativity and my well-being to consume a bit less of it. I am not exactly sure what it will look like but I guess it might mean having a bit of a sort through of my Twitter, Instagram and Feedly accounts and cutting back on how many people I follow. I read this article the other day asking the question can too much inspiration actually be harmful? I am the first to acknowledge all the amazing things about the Internet and one of the things I have been loving at the moment is the new creative friends I have been making on the Internet and actually meeting in real life...but I think it is time that I start to acknowledge that there are some downsides - I am starting to try and work out how I can protect myself and make sure my creativity is not affected negatively. 

I think it is a relief to know that other creatives that I admire struggle with similar things and so I am going to pick myself up, work hard and keep tackling my to-do list and coming up with new ideas. I really love what I am doing and am going to keep working at growing my little business. 

After I finished writing this post I read this blog post by Seth Godin, and was really struck by the following quote >  "Pretty good ideas are easy. The guts and persistence and talent to create, ship and stick it out are what's hard." - And he is right... that is the hard bit. But I feel even more inspired to stick it out and keep going when I am struggling and finding it hard. 

I hope you all have a really lovely and creative Friday! Don't forget you are unique and you totally have something to offer! 

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A day in Brighton

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When I met up with Siobhan last week she recommended checking out the Elise Gets Crafty podcast and what can I say, I am now addicted. They are so good and I am really enjoying the topics she tackles. One of her early episodes was about creative field trips - I really like this name and realised that this is actually something that has always been important for me. Just getting out of your normal everyday routine and getting inspired. This could be through travel further afield or could even be exploring a new city in your own country, or even just a new corner of your own city or town (or a new area of countryside if you live in the country). 

Last week I went on a creative field trip to Brighton which is always a fun place to visit. It is nice to be in a city with a totally different feel to what I am used to, to be by the sea and also to visit different shops and independent cafes. On Monday I was talking about how great it is to hang out with creative friends, well I got to hang out with an all time fave Kate. I don't get to see her nearly as much as I would like and still dream about us living in the same city again one day but whenever we meet up it is like no time has passed. 

Hope you enjoy these pics from my day. If you have an opportunity to take a creative field trip anytime soon I would totally recommend it. We are actually going to Bristol this weekend for our anniversary so I'm looking forward to a new place to explore and lots of inspiration! 

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Happy Wednesday folks! 

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No man or woman is a creative island

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A little while ago I wrote a post about tips to keep the creative juices flowing. It was helpful to write them down and have them to hand for next time I get in a creative rut, but my friend Lois pointed out that I had missed off a key tip - spending time with creative friends. Such a good point! To be honest I can't believe I forgot it...but since I think it is so important I decided to give this tip its own blog post! 

Having creative friends and people who understand what you do has been so important to me in my creative journey. I think one of my favourite things is when you meet someone who just seems to totally be on your creative wavelength and you just click and you can’t help it but share ideas and get excited about what each other is working on. Having friends to bounce ideas off and get feedback is such a helpful tool when it comes to running a small creative business - especially if they are in a similar boat. 

I have been lucky that I have had some great creative friends that I've had since my art foundation course and from university. Sadly we don’t all live in the same place now but I know they are just a call or an email away and it is always great having their support and wisdom. More recently I have been making friends with fellow creative's based in London through the amazing worlds of Instagram and Twitter. I honestly can’t even tell you what an encouragement this has been to me.

To be honest about a year ago I was a bit unsure about meeting up with people who I knew online but not in real life - but about this time last year I went for dinner with the lovely Bianca and Samee and the rest as they say is history. More recently I have met up with Teri and Siobhan - just thought I would mention them too as they are both so darn lovely. Chatting to all these girls has been so inspiring and helpful! 

So if you are shy and have been holding back from making and meeting internet friends for whatever reason but have been thinking about it can I encourage you to just go for it! Yes it can be a bit scary at first but in my experience it has been one of the most rewarding aspects of the wonderful online communities that are Twitter and Instagram. 

Hope you are have a lovely Monday! 

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My insta faves (part 3)

You guys seem to be loving these insta faves posts (see the last two here and here) and so I figured while I still have people to share I would keep going. For this round up I decided to focus on hand letters as there are so many people who share beautiful work on Instagram but also have beautiful Instagram feeds to boot. Get stuck in and inspired with these beauties: 

@arbuzzy - A calligrapher and printmaker, Ashley shares a mix of calligraphy and hand lettering interspersed with general life.

@arbuzzy - A calligrapher and printmaker, Ashley shares a mix of calligraphy and hand lettering interspersed with general life.

@andreasmhansen - Based in Copenhagen, there is all sorts of lovely typography and hand lettering on this feed.

@andreasmhansen - Based in Copenhagen, there is all sorts of lovely typography and hand lettering on this feed.

@evablack_ - lots of lovely type and patterns on this feed with lovely photography - I also really like the close up details.

@evablack_ - lots of lovely type and patterns on this feed with lovely photography - I also really like the close up details.

@chelseapetaja - If you like beautiful type and flowers this feed is for you - lots of inspiring treats and beautiful details. 

@chelseapetaja - If you like beautiful type and flowers this feed is for you - lots of inspiring treats and beautiful details. 

@sabinepick - A custom calligraphy studio, this feed is full of calligraphy and I love the messy style and behind the scenes shots.

@sabinepick - A custom calligraphy studio, this feed is full of calligraphy and I love the messy style and behind the scenes shots.

@Biancacash - I love this girl and her hand lettering is top notch. Her feed is a combo of lettering and dreamy photographs. 

@Biancacash - I love this girl and her hand lettering is top notch. Her feed is a combo of lettering and dreamy photographs. 

@juliesongink - a mix of type and watercolour goodness. Lots of calligraphy for weddings and invitations. 

@juliesongink - a mix of type and watercolour goodness. Lots of calligraphy for weddings and invitations. 

@Belindalovelee - Belinda has a really distinct style and there is a lot of type and illustration goodness interspersed with lovely photos

@Belindalovelee - Belinda has a really distinct style and there is a lot of type and illustration goodness interspersed with lovely photos

So there you have it. Hopefully there are some new ones here that you were not aware of and you can get stuck in enjoying them all. 

Happy Friday! Hope you all have a lovely weekend! 

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Inspired by Line T Klein

For some reasons I feel like I have been doing a lot more styling recently when it comes to photography for my blog and also for some other clients. It is something that is very tricky and takes a lot of skill but makes such a huge difference, and when it is done well you often don't notice. 

I recently stumbled across the work of Line T Klein, her photographs are just stunning and her styling is top notch. She is a Copenhagen based editorial photographer. She describes her style as 'a tangible, sensual take on Scandinavian cool'. 

I really love the textures and colours used in some of these shots. In the past I don't think I realised how much of a skill styling is. There is so much to think about, from the colours, the lighting, the composition, layers and textures. I hope you enjoyed checking our Line T Klein's work. I am off to practice my photography and set up some little styled shots in my home studio! 

Hope you are all having a lovely Wednesday!

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Studio Tour

A little while ago my friend Samee suggested that I should do a little studio tour on the blog. I had never really thought about doing it because the place is usually a mess and pretty small but I started thinking about it and actually, I am pretty nosey and love seeing where people work and all the little details that they have on their walls etc...so I thought what the heck, why not. She very kindly came over and took some photos of me in the studio and around the house. 

I am not that good at having my photo taken, I am usually pulling a silly face and not very photogenic but Samee is a total pro, she made me feel so at ease, chatted to me and distracted me so that she got natural looking shots. If you need something or someone photographing I can't recommend this gal enough. It was such a fun afternoon. I will be using some more of her photos in other posts in the coming weeks too.

I feel so so lucky to have this dedicated space for my work and creativity (especially in London where space is such a premium) and I am appreciating it even more now that I have gone down to 4 days a week. It really is my happy place. I was having a lot of fun playing around with my new pot of white ink!

I hope you have enjoyed having a little snoop around. I am hoping to get a new desk soon, which I think will totally transform the space and make it even better. If any of you have done a post sharing your studio space or where you work I would love to see it - feel free to link the post in the comments!

All of these photographs were taking by Samee Lapham. Check out here website and instagram to see more of her skills! 

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Patterned Bunting - Free download

It seems like with the arrival of Spring there are more birthdays and little celebrations going on. I wanted to find a pretty quick and easy way to add a bit of colour and fun to our house with some non-permanent decorations. Bunting is always a fun way to do that but I wanted something that was easy to put together (rather than having to spend hours sewing - which I have done before!) so I decided to make some paper bunting. 

You can make the bunting as long or short as you like just print off more sheets for a longer one. All you need to do is print off the designs (there are 2 patterned and 2 solid colour which you can arrange and alternate as you like) punch a hole in each corner, thread some string or ribbon through the holes and then voila, it 's ready to hang, either by tying or washi taping them to a wall. 

I am going to use these for some birthday celebrations but in the meantime I hung a few in our bedroom to add a bit of colour and decoration to our blackboard wall. If you want to have a go too just download them HERE

I hope you are enjoying the long Easter weekend so far. It is always a great time to stop and take stock and remember what Jesus did for us. I have been taking sometime to think today about His sacrifice and what that means for my life and just thinking about how much I have been blessed with and have to be grateful for.

I will be back on Monday with a little tour of my home studio which I am excited about! Have a lovely weekend!

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#52handlettered (March)

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I decided I wasn't getting the look that I wanted by just snapping a photo of my ink contributions - so I started scanning and also playing with watercolours and different colours. I departed from the blue totally and although I did love the blue ink I like how this month's are looking. I never really think my hand lettering has a distinct style but looking at this set I am realising that my style is developing and they all looking like they have been painted by the same person. I think that is a good thing but I still want to practice and improve my hand lettering style.

I recently got some white calligraphy ink which I have really enjoyed playing with. I just love how white ink looks on black or a dark coloured card. I haven't posted the one with white ink above...think it still needs some work. I always enjoy playing around with new materials though!

As usual I thought I would share some of my favourites from other people this past month. Click on the images below to link through to their instagram accounts. 

You can see January's and February's round up too. Hope you have a lovely Wednesday! Can't believe it's April!

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This Month // March

So last week was the first week after such a good run where I didn't manage to post 3 times in the week. Up until then I had been consistently posting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the routine has been working well for me. Last week though I was feeling ill, work got on top of me and I decided to just give myself a break and not worry about it. Anyway I am raring to go this week and looking forward to a shorter working week because of Easter. Here are some of the things that happened in March. 

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1. This month was really exciting on the shop front because I had lots of Mothers Day orders. Thank you so so much if you ordered one. You kept me busy and I had so much fun packaging them all up. I am still loving working 4 days a week and have lots of plans for the shop

2. The weather has improved significantly and I have been walking LOADS. It has actually been really inspiring and I have snapped so many lovely shots on my walks to and from work. 

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3. Have been working with the lovely Sally at Bias Boutique in Peckham which means I get to visit the shop and drool over all the lovely products. I'm enjoying growing my freelance client base - if you have a project you would like me to work on I would love to hear from you! 

4. I have been loving the blogging.  I am developing my content and trying to work out which posts you like and which not so much - and despite the slight blip last week, posting 3 times a week seems to be an achievable amount at the moment. 

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5. We took a trip to Cardiff and went and watched the Severn Bore - Did you know that it is the second largest tidal range in the world. There's a geeky geography fact for you. It was actually a little bit disappointing, maybe I had built it up a bit in my head - but I always have fun going on random adventures like this with my family! (I had to brighten up this image to make it not look so grey and depressing!) 

6. I have been trying to be a bit better at noticing the details around me and have been sharing a few of the photos on instagram with the hashtag #noticingthedetails. Totally join in if you fancy! 

I am looking forward to April. We have a bit of time off over Easter and are going to tackle lots of jobs around the house. It is our wedding anniversary and we are going to Bristol for a weekend to celebrate. I am also looking forward to a day trip to Brighton to see one of my fave friends! 

Hope you all have a great Monday!

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New York, New York

New York has had a part of my heart now for quite a number of years. Pretty soon I after I graduated I headed over the pond for 3 months to do an internship with a guy who was a one man band design studio. I worked alongside him and learnt from him and worked on projects for some pretty awesome clients including the MTA and also the School of American Ballet. That trip was 6 years ago and I haven't been to NY since, but this year NM and I have a trip planned. He has never been before and I am dying to go back, so we are both pretty excited. We will be there for 5 days at the beginning of June (and then we head to Boston for some adventures there too) - so if you have any recommendations of things to do and places to see I would LOVE to hear them. I want to have a good list before we head off. 

Now enough about our holiday plans. I wanted to share with you some stunning New York related art work. When I started experimenting with linocut Luke pointed me in the direction of Hannah Cousins who creates these absolutely stunning linocuts of scenes in New York. They are getting me even more excited about our trip but I am also dreaming about having one of these on my wall. You can see (and buy) the whole series here. Also Hannah will be exhibiting her linocuts at the COB gallery in London from the 29th April until the 3rd May. Sounds like the perfect inspiring  outing to me. If you are in London you should check it out! 

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I really need to have another go playing around with linocutting!  Hope you are feeling inspired and enjoying your Wednesday! 

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things I am loving on etsy

Guys, I have been finding so many beautiful shops and amazing things on etsy recently and I haven't done a post sharing what I am loving on etsy for a while (since this one) so I thought It was time. I have been umming and ahhing because I have a gift voucher and I just can't decide what to spend it on! I have tried to keep it to the UK and Europe but the odd US/Aus entry might have sneaked in! 

1. How cute is this calligraphy kit. This would make such a great gift for a creative friend or just for yourself if you wanted to learn. Ever since taking this modern calligraphy class I am obsessed with all things calligraphy. 

2. I love this shop Depeapa - and I am a fan of all things spattered ink...this bag is cute with the little blush details too. 

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3. I love love love this shop and especially this hands print. Would look so good on my wall! 

4. This thank you stamp is so cute. It is always nice to say thank you right?

5. Not sure why but I am currently obsessed with ring dishes. I haven't bought one yet but am on the look out and this one is super cute.

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Hope you all have a lovely day - and enjoy perusing these etsy shops.

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noticing the details

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The other day I was popping to the post office - now that is no great event, but as I was walking along a route that takes less than 5 minutes and I have taken thousands of times I was thinking about instagram and how my instagram only seems to get interesting when I go on foreign adventures. Although that might be true it got my thinking that I want to be better at spotting little moments of beauty in my every day. I am really aware of how when I am deeply entrenched in the familiar routine I forget to look and I stop seeing. 

So I set myself the challenge to try and take 6 photographs on that 10 minute walk (5 mins there and back). It was actually incredible. I ended up taking more than 6 photographs and although they weren't all amazing I was really happy with them - and I felt like I really had spotted corners of beauty on a very familiar walk on a very grey day! 

You can see some of my favourite ones above (and obviously I have put some on instagram too!) This is definitely something I am going to try more often, to get me looking, appreciating and finding joy in what is around me. I am going to be using the hashtag #noticingthedetails to keep track of the pictures on instagram so feel free to follow along with what I find or also add your own spots to the hashtag too! 

All of the photos were taken with my iphone and edited using VSCOCAM. 

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Juggling 9-5, Freelance and a shop

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For the last year or so I have been juggling a 9-5 in-house design job, freelance clients, blogging and also setting up my own little online shop. Making it all work, getting everything done and not getting overwhelmed has definitely been a juggling act and quite a lesson in time management, but I thought I would share a little bit of what I learnt, as I know a lot of bloggers and people with creative projects have full time jobs too. 

1. Keep a notebook with you at all times - You never know when inspiration for a project or blog post is going to hit you so you need to make sure you have somewhere to write things down. Very often you won't be able to do anything about your idea straight away and so you need to get it written down so that you don't forget and so you can come back to it later. When you are juggling different things you can't always work on things when you want to and so this helps to make sure you are ready when you do have the time. 

2. Make the most of small pockets of time - I have got really good at dipping in an out of things when I can. 30 mins at lunch time, some time before meeting a friend. Some people find it hard to work in such short bursts but for me it has seemed to be working and when I use these little pockets of time throughout the day I can get a lot done!

3. Lists, lists, lists - I do not trust my memory and so making a list of what I need to do and setting reminders are so important for me. I have several notebooks with lists of things to do (except I am trying to get better at keeping them all in one place! ha). As much as I love technology, personally I much prefer a handwritten list that I can physically cross off rather than one written on my phone. 

4. Learn to say no so that you are free to say yes - Remember you can't do everything. I think learning to say no will be a lifelong lesson for me, but I feel like I have been learning more recently that saying no is not necessarily missing out on something...it is actually making sure that you are available for something better. 

5. Automatic Scheduling - One thing I have only been really making the most of recently is scheduling content. I am gradually starting to do that with my blog posts and some of my tweets so that I can do the work and then forget about it when I am at my 9-5. 

6. Make the most of your phone - One thing I have started doing a bit is writing blog posts on my commute using my phone. I usually use Evernote as that is where I keep my draft blog posts but if you have a smartphone you could easily use the notes facility. I have found this a great way to use the time on my commute (or anytime when I am waiting around) when I am often daydreaming and coming up with ideas for my blog anyway. If you don't have a smart phone go old school and use a pen and paper that you can then quickly type up later.  

7. Be all there - now this is a tough one and one I am still working on it, but it is important to be focused and present in the task that you are doing, not distracted by other things you might want to be working on for your other job.

Anyway these are just a few of the things that have helped me and that I am working on. If you are also someone who is juggling allsorts, and have any other tips I would love to hear them! 

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Moodboard Monday - Swimming

I don't know why but I recently realised that I was obsessed with swimming illustrations. I like swimming and everything but I am not a fanatic, but I just think these illustrations are all beautiful and so fun (ok so the one below to the right is more sunbathing than swimming). Anyway I thought I would collect together some of my favourite swimming illustrations for my moodboard this Monday. If you click on the images it will take you to the sources. Hope you all have a wonderfully inspired Monday! 

Book Review - Make Your Mark: The Creative's Guides to Building a Business with Impact

This month I am reviewing another book from the 99U Make Your Mark series put together by Jocelyn K Glei: Make Your Mark: The Creative's Guilde to Building a Business with Impact. Last month I reviewed Manage Your Day-to-Day

I found this book a little bit harder to get into than Manage Your Day-to-Day which I couldn't get enough of and read super quickly. I think part of the reason for that was the first half of this book it really felt like it was talking about tech start ups and companies that had grown quite big and so I guess it didn't feel super relevant for my little one man band 'company'. But when I did get into it I think this book did have a lot of valuable advice and ideas. 

Like Manage Your Day-to-Day (and I am guessing the other book in this series too) It was divided up into 4 sections which then each contained articles by various authors. These sections were 1. Defining your purpose, 2. Building your product, 3. Serving your customers and 4. Leading your team.  Again the book was peppered with lots of inspiring quotes too. The one below is one of my favourites.

"Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity"

- Simone Weil – The creatives guide to building a business with impact

The bits of this book that really had an impact on me and got me thinking about how I want to run my business was section 3 about serving your customers. It got me really excited and inspired about things I can start doing now in my little business to make the customer's experience as good as possible, and as a result I am going to sit down and brainstorm ideas to make sure that when people receive products from my shop that they feel delighted that they shopped with me. 

The other bit I found really interesting was section 4 about leading a team. Now, I don't have a team right now but it made me realise that actually I would love one day to grow my business to the point that I could employ a small team. There was so much good advice for leading a team and how to inspire and nurture your team. I think this is a book that I will keep on my shelf and although some of the content didn't feel totally relevant to me right now, I think as my business grows this will be a really helpful book to come back to time and time again. 

I think what I really do love about how these books are laid out is how easy they are to dip into and how the essays are by a variety of really interesting authors and in really manageable chunks. They also have a spread at the end of each section with the key take away points from each article which is so helpful. 

All in all I would definitely recommend this book to people. I didn't get as into it as Manage Your Day-to-Day but there was a lot of wisdom packed in the pages. 

Next month won't be another book from this series..I will move onto something different. I hope you all have a great Friday and weekend!

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Tips to keep the creativity juices flowing

I don't know about you but sometimes go through phases where I feel stuck in a rut with my creativity. I have been in one recently and I feel like I am only just surfacing from it. I have been thinking about some of the ways that help keep my creative juices flowing and so I thought I would share a few of them in case they might help anyone else. 

1. Walk lots. I have recently been walking a lot more (about 1.5 hours some days) and I make a point of not listening to music or podcasts and just daydreaming. I find that my mind wanders and I start thinking about projects I am working on and ideas seem to flow more naturally. I find myself coming up with designs in my head. (The photo above was taken from one of my walks to work recently).

2. Come up with ideas everyday. Sometimes I think it is good to train your brain in certain behaviours or to think in particular ways. I think you can do this with idea generation. Train your brain to come up with lots of ideas. Keep a notebook (can be physical and/or digital) and set yourself the challenge of coming up with 10 ideas everyday. They don't all have to be good ones, just get them down and you might be surprised by what you have. I try to do this with blog posts and I now have a pretty long list.

3. Travel. Now this doesn't have to be somewhere far away or exotic but I think going somewhere new where you haven't been before is stimulating for the brain. There are new things to see and explore and it can often be very inspiring. Time away from everyday routines can be great. If you can afford to visit other countries amazing, but I find a weekend away in another city or even exploring a part of town I am not familiar with does the trick. 

4. Read books. This is something that I have not been very good at recently but I have got a pile of novels that I am eager to crack on with (all the walking has meant less time on the bus reading!). We learn so much from reading and I think often reading about things that might be totally unrelated to the creative project you are working on can spark connections, or make you think outside the box and in new ways. 

5. Learn a new skill. Sometimes if you are struggling with a particular project it can help if you channel your creativity in a different direction and learn something new. So for example if I am struggling with a particularly tough design job - taking a break and making candles, practising calligraphy or linocutting can focus my brain in a different way and get me all inspired again, so I am fresh to go back to the tricky design I am working on. A great place to start with this is skillshare. There are so many amazing online classes that you can take and don't cost very much and it always feels so good to learn new things. 

I hope some of these work for you. I would love to hear if you have any other ideas for how to keep creativity levels high. 

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My insta faves (part 2)

Last month I shared a few of my favourite instagrammers to follow. I really enjoyed putting the post together and using it as an excuse to trawl through who I follow and get inspired, so I thought I would do another one! Here are another 8 of my favourite people to follow. Check them out for a good dose of inspiration. 

@kmsalvagedesign - Lots of beautiful things arranged in super cool ways. This girl knows how to bring order out of chaos. Some seriously awesome styling skills going on. 

@kmsalvagedesign - Lots of beautiful things arranged in super cool ways. This girl knows how to bring order out of chaos. Some seriously awesome styling skills going on. 

@thiswildidea - This guy documents his life on the road with his lovely dog maddie! His photos are just stunning and I love following along with their adventures. 

@thiswildidea - This guy documents his life on the road with his lovely dog maddie! His photos are just stunning and I love following along with their adventures. 

@tarapearce_ - A photographer living in Australia, there is a mix of all sorts in her feed but it is all held together with consistently lovely photography. 

@tarapearce_ - A photographer living in Australia, there is a mix of all sorts in her feed but it is all held together with consistently lovely photography. 

@emmadime - A graphic designer from Oakland, her feed is beautiful and clean but also full of colour! A nice mixture of life and design - inspiration central.

@emmadime - A graphic designer from Oakland, her feed is beautiful and clean but also full of colour! A nice mixture of life and design - inspiration central.

@halfgirl - Lots of earthy tones and wildlife shots from this natural history conservation student who lives in Copenhagen. Life looks serene and beautiful in this feed.

@halfgirl - Lots of earthy tones and wildlife shots from this natural history conservation student who lives in Copenhagen. Life looks serene and beautiful in this feed.

@samsette - I love seeing the world through this girls eyes, especially London! I am lucky enough to call her a friend not only are her photos amazing but she is ACE!

@samsette - I love seeing the world through this girls eyes, especially London! I am lucky enough to call her a friend not only are her photos amazing but she is ACE!

@themelodyh - This girl has serious style and an eye for capturing colour. Also pretty scenic shots from her travels. She is a designer and musician. 

@themelodyh - This girl has serious style and an eye for capturing colour. Also pretty scenic shots from her travels. She is a designer and musician. 

@minna_so - a graphic designer, photographer and writer from Seattle - her handlettering is so cute and I love all the inspiring quotes. 

@minna_so - a graphic designer, photographer and writer from Seattle - her handlettering is so cute and I love all the inspiring quotes. 

So there we go - I really hope you enjoy checking all of these guys out! I still have more that I love so maybe I will have to do a part 3 too! 

Hope you all have a lovely and inspired Monday!

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Illustrated envelopes - FREE PRINTABLE

These printable posts are seriously my favourite to put together. I love coming up with simple but striking things that are easy for you to print and use at home. This month's is a favourite because I love sending snail mail especially when the envelopes are a bit out of the ordinary, so make receiving post even more exciting. 

There are 3 different envelope designs in this printable and you can download them HERE

envelopes04.jpg

All you need to do is cut the envelopes along the edges. Fold the bottom up (the line it should be folded on is in line with the bottom of the flaps). Then fold the flaps over. Try and make sure your folds are straight so the envelope looks like it is rectangular. Stick down the folds using glue or double sided sticky tape and then you are good to go! Pop your letter in, use some washi tape or sellotape to stick it down and send away! 

There is no way that receiving one of these in the post would not put a smile on someone's face. I am using them to send little encouraging notes to my sister who is in her final year of university and working hard to finish her course!

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Inspired by Rocio Montoya

Ever since I discovered Laura from cardboardcities blog, I have wanted to experiment with creating my own collages. (Aren't Laura's collages and patterns awesome!).

Anyway a little while ago on Fubiz I stumbled across the work of Rocio Montoya and fell even more in love with collage as an art form and now I am determined to have a go. I think what I would like to do is around the beginning of each month share an artist that is inspiring me and then use that as a catalyst to experiment and try different mediums out that I am not that used to. It may end up that what I create turns out to be not that good, but I like the idea of using this space to document my attempts. So later in March look out for some of my own collage attempts. 

In the mean time enjoy and be inspired by Rocio Montoya's work

I really love how she combines black and white photographs with nature elements that are in colour. They are just so beautiful and dreamy. I especially love the composition of the image above with the rose falling down below the bottom of the black and white image. 

I like the intrigue that is added to the image above with cutting out their faces and parts of their bodies. It makes you wonder who they are and what they were doing.

To see more of Rocio Montoya's work check out her website

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Fairtrade Fortnight

I am not sure if you know or not, but at the moment it is 'Fairtrade Fortnight'. It happens every year and is to raise awareness about how as consumers we can make a difference in people's lives across the world just by the decisions we make whilst we're shopping. By buying something that is certified as fairly traded you are ensuring that the people who made the item were paid a good wage, worked in good conditions and were treated with respect (amongst other things). There are lots of Fairtrade initiatives springing up but it can still be hard to find good and stylish products that you would actually want to buy and so I thought in the spirit of 'Fairtrade Fortnight' I would share some of my favourite places for buying Fairtrade products. A long time ago I used to work in a Fairtrade shop in Cardiff that had lots of amazing products from all over the world and I learnt so much about it all and even used to give talks on the topic in schools and even at a big conference once. Recently, as I have been thinking about consuming less and being more thoughtful about the products that I do buy (and wanting them to be really good quality) - I have been trying to make more of an effort to make sure they are fairly traded as well whenever possible.

There is still a long way to go with Fairtrade in the UK and I know it is not always possible to buy Fairtrade, but I wanted to encourage you when you're shopping to think about choosing the Fairtrade option and also to check out some of the lovely shops below. If you want to find out more about Fairtrade you can read more about it here

People Tree - Not everything is my taste but People Tree has some really beautiful clothes and some lovely jewellery. I love the bracelet above. I also just treated myself to this one. 

People Tree - Not everything is my taste but People Tree has some really beautiful clothes and some lovely jewellery. I love the bracelet above. I also just treated myself to this one. 

Marks and Spencers - M&S have a smallish range of Fairtrade things but I really like the range of flowers they do. These would make a great mother's day gift. 

Marks and Spencers - M&S have a smallish range of Fairtrade things but I really like the range of flowers they do. These would make a great mother's day gift. 

Myakka - This place does absolutely stunning Fairtrade furniture. I love the Mallani range and this is the sort of furniture that will last a long time and be handed down.

Myakka - This place does absolutely stunning Fairtrade furniture. I love the Mallani range and this is the sort of furniture that will last a long time and be handed down.

Decorators Notebook - This site is a recent find and I really love it. They have some beautiful Fairtrade products and are really good at sharing the story behind them. 

Decorators Notebook - This site is a recent find and I really love it. They have some beautiful Fairtrade products and are really good at sharing the story behind them. 

Those are the main shops that I wanted to share but there are lots of other places you can find Fairtrade goods. Supermarkets like Sainsbury's, Waitrose and the Co-op have a lot of Fairtrade food ranges for instance. I am going to keep researching and trying to find great companies selling Fairtrade.

For more information about Fairtrade in general check out  The Fairtrade Foundation - Happy Monday people.

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