Posts tagged blogging
Just get started

Oh boy - I have started writing this post so many times - I don't know what is wrong with me but at the end of last year with everything going on, life, work, the shop, selling at craft fairs, I just sort of fell out of the habit of blogging regularly. This has been probably the longest accidental break from blogging that I have had for a while, but when the New Year came round I just found it so hard to get stuck back in again. I can't really put my finger on why to be honest, maybe a lack of inspiration and ideas, maybe a creative rut, maybe too many other things to think about - but I have missed it, the routine and structure and a space to be creative in a different way.  I guess it just got to the point where I had to make a start. So here it is. I am back. I am making a fresh start.

This is going to be a pretty short post - I am just easing back in but I just wanted to mention that there is a MEGA sale going on in the shop at the moment. Seriously, most things are 50% off and there are so many bargains. It ends on the 16th January so you still have a few days to get involved - and some things once they are gone will be gone forever. 

I will be back later in the week with my goals for this year. I have quite a lot of them buzzing around my head so I think I need to think them through and make sure they are not totally unrealistic. 

I would also like to do a post reflecting back on my goals last year and how I got on with them. It is always encouraging to look back and see how far you have actually come even if you don't manage to achieve everything. 

I hope January hasn't been too blue for you and you are looking forward to the year ahead! Also, if you have written posts with your goals in I would love to read them! Just post a link in the comments below!

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Reader Survey 2015

Guys I have been thinking for a while that it would be pretty interesting to do a reader survey. I have really noticed that since January onwards, as I have been blogging a lot more consistently, engagement and readership has increased, which is great! As much as I write this blog for my own enjoyment and as a creative endeavour that I find inspiration from - you, my lovely readers are pretty key in the whole process. As I work on the blog and develop the content and try and work out what is working and what maybe isn't, it would be so useful to know a bit more about who is reading it and also your thoughts on what you enjoy and what you don't. I know there are a lot of areas that I can improve on, and I am really enjoying that process, so your answers to these questions I've put together will really help me to work out how to do that more effectively and how to grow in the right direction. 

You can find the form below and it really would mean the world to me if you would take five minutes out of your day to answer these questions (seriously you can see how grateful I am - my arms are open wide to give you a hug in the picture above! Haha such a silly photo but it made me laugh!).

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I hope you all have a lovely Wednesday!

(photo above taken by Samee Lapham)

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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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Tools for blogging

I have started to get into a bit of a better routine with my blogging - my organisation still needs a lot more work but I have come up with a bit of a system that so far in 2015 is working for me. Anyway I thought I would share with you some of my favourite tools that I use for blogging. 

1. Extra Large Moleskin. 
Despite all of the amazing technology and amazing apps out there nothing is ever going to beat a good old fashioned notebook. I know it's a bit cliche now for a graphic designer's choice to be a moleskin but I really do love this notebook. I go for the extra large plain softback version, that I carry with me most of the time and I just use it for putting all my ideas down. I have pages with ideas for blog posts, ideas for new prints/cards for the etsy shop and ideas for design projects I am currently working on. What I love about this notebook is that it is simple and stylish and lasts a really good amount of time. I find it very satisfying to have my old moleskins on the shelf incase I need them and also the pocket in the back which is a feature on moleskins is really helpful for me as I am a bit of a hoarder of scraps of paper. 

2. Evernote
I signed up for an Evernote account a couple of years ago and had a play around with it, but for some reason I never took to it, but I decided to give it a go this year and I am won over - after only a few weeks I can't work out what I did without it! What I love about it is being able to organise all my draft blog posts and being able to dip in and out of working on them (I used to have all my drafts in Squarespace and I started to find it a bit messy and confusing - so now I only move them over to there when they are pretty much ready to go).  It also syncs on my computer and my phone - and so it is great to be able to work on blog posts in progress on my commute. The other thing I like about it is it's great for making lists, storing ideas and inspiration. I guess this is my digital version of the moleskin. 

3. Squarespace 
Last year I moved my blog from Wordpress to Squarespace and I am so so glad I did. I have had such a great experience with Squarespace. I love how easy it is to use the interface and all the tools and functions that it has. I also really like that I have the option to integrate a shop into the website which is something I am planning to do later in the year.

4. Feedly 
Ok so this tool doesn't really help me in my blogging per se - but it is what I use for reading other people's blogs and I love it. Again it's great because I can use it on my laptop but also there is an app so I can catch up with my favourite blogs on the go. I like the design and how easy it is to use. 

5. Lighting 
Something that has made a huge difference to my blogging was getting these lights for Christmas. Before it used to be a bit of a nightmare getting pictures for the blog because the light was only just about decent in a particular room in our house in the day time - but because I was at work this limited me to the weekends and also we were often out at the weekends. These lights give a really even and natural looking light and they mean that I can take photos for the blog at any time of night and day and they come out so much better. I am so pleased with them and having them has really sped things up when it comes to preparing blog posts. I have a DSLR for taking photos which isn't anything special but it is doing the job for now. 

6. An Editorial Calendar 
I haven't totally worked out the best way for keeping track of this and so far for me this is a printed calendar that I scribble all over laying out what posts will be coming when so that I can see a month or so in advance what I need to be working on. This is one of the things that I do miss from Wordpress - a built in editorial calendar in the blog. I haven't seemed to find anything like this in Squarespace. Ideally I would like this calendar to be digital because often things change and I am moving blog posts around and changing my mind, so with the paper version that gets very busy and messy - but for now until I find something better the paper version is working pretty well. I did think about getting one of these notebooks so at least it will look way better than my scraps of printed out paper stapled together! 

Anyway there you have it - those are the tools that I use on a daily basis when it comes to my blog. None of these are anything new and I am sure very similar to what other bloggers use - but I hope you enjoy getting a bit of insight into my process for now. I might try and do a bit of a 'tools for...' series - and share what I use for handlettering/designing etc if people would be interested. 

My goals for 2015
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To be totally honest I am not into New Year's resolutions at all. I always choose things that are just way too ambitious and not really achievable and then it doesn't last very long. I do like to set myself some goals though, things that I can get my teeth into and that I have the whole year to work on. I guess its normal to have a think about these when there is a New Year but sometimes I like to set myself some goals in the summer too to give me some added motivation and drive. Looking back on last year I feel really pleased with how I did with some of my goals. I really wanted to lose some weight, and although it wasn't as much as I hoped, I lost a stone and it felt great. I really noticed a difference. I also (re)launched my etsy shop and really pushed things forward, which was something I had been wanting to do for ages. I also took on some new freelance clients which has been really rewarding and a great experience. 

This year I think my goals are probably fairly similar to last year's (not sure I published last year's on the blog though) but just pushing things along slightly. So here we go. 

1. Keep trying to be healthier. I know this is going to be on my list of goals probably for ever but I think it's something that I am always happy to be working on. I want to be much better at looking after my body and being a bit more mindful about what I am putting into it. I love food so much and so I want to find a way of not denying myself everything to the point I don't enjoy it anymore, but to be more creative with healthy lunches and little treats. On the exercise front I would really like to get into running again. A couple of years ago I did really well and built up to running a half marathon, but it's amazing how easy it is to slip out of it. Ideally I would like to get into the habit of running home from work as often as I can fit it in to my schedule. 

2. Blog more regularly. Over the Christmas break I have tried to put together a bit of a blogging schedule so that I can be more organised and plan in advance for some of my posts. I am hoping I will be able to keep this up. I am aiming to post 3 times a week for now (I'm not going to give myself a hard time if it's only 1 or 2 on the odd occasion though). Anyway you will probably be able to see how this is going. I am really hoping that over the year my writing, photography and the quality of my content is going to improve. 

3. Grow my Etsy shop. I want to carve out time to create more products for my shop this year. I feel like I am developing a style that I am happy with and so I need to make time to create regularly. I also want to work on my wholesale catalogue. Before Christmas my cards were stocked in the Turpentine (Brixton) and Bias (Peckham) - which are both shops that I love and I would love to get my cards stocked in more independent shops in London and the UK. 

4. Live more simply. I know this is all the rage at the moment and there are lots of blogs dedicated to living a simple life - but it is something I want to take seriously in 2015. It really is crazy the amount that we consume, and I know I could be a lot happier with less possessions and a less cluttered life in general. This won't be easy as I do love to shop but I am going to work on it. I guess this all links in to saving money too. I would really like to do a big trip to the US this year but to make it happen it will involve cutting back and saving the pennies for sure. 

The postcard in the picture above is by the very talented Jen Collins. I got a little set of them before she closed her etsy shop. I love them - they totally motivate me. This one will be going on the wall to keep me motivated in 2015. 

Hope you all have a great week!