11 September 2017

The realities of loss

September for me is hard old month, it's really a month I wish to pass through unscathed. Often I talk about my mum on here, on my Instagram and in person, it's been a pretty tough learning curve and an experience that I went through that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. You don't expect to lose a loved one in such an abrupt way. You got to bed one night then wake up the next morning having to resuscitate your dying mum. Long and the short of it thats pretty much what happened. I often receive a lot of Instagram messages and emails from young people that have had a recent loss in the family and often people say to me how hard it must be, how brave I am and how they admire my courage to talk so candidly about the death of someone so close to me. I was born into a family thats pretty hard nosed, raised by both parents that would tell you to just get up and carry on if you fell over, don't cry over spilt milk, and being one of five kids it wasn't a pampered wrap the children in cotton wool environment. So I faced my mother death with a sort of practical mind set. Don't get me wrong I often cry my eyes out until I bore myself and just crack on with whatever I have to do. In the spaces of those two years since I lost my Mum it feels like a million things have changed but at the same time like nothing has happened at all. I have hurled many things I felt I couldn't do without her by my side, exhibition, craft fair, relationship advice, learning to drive. 

When you're faced with such a shit situation you have no choice but to face things head on. I'm a mix of realist and a dreamer and thats an odd thing to be. As I faced my life at 27 without the comfort of my mother I decided from that day that I would do my best to make the most of things. Now I'm not big on the old travel front, I love seeing the world if I get the chance but for me, I want to enjoy all the things that life throws at me and when she died I had the mindset of throwing all the caution to the winding and living everyday as if it was my last, but I found that inevitably I became a tad self absorbed and lonely. None of my friends had faced such an earth shatteringly shit thing like the death of a parent, nothing that close had happen to them and selfishly the more I dwelled on this fact the more I pushed my friends away and in turn the less my friends could relate to me. I found it a very hard balance to strike. I became pretty hard on myself and my agoraphobia kicked in pretty hard. Now I wouldn't want to hang out with a bitter, depressed agoraphobic friend, I just sadly probably wouldn't so I decided that as much as I wanted to seize the day it just wasn't in my nature. So thats when I realised if I made small conscious everyday decisions eventually my life and mind set would at least in the tiniest part be better then it was the previous day.  These choices to other people would probably appear insignificant but to anyone in the depths of depression mourning their loved one felt like triumphant leaps. I would make a mini to do list for the day, that may just involve texting a friend back, (which I am currently failing at) eating three meals a day (I lost an extra two stone after mum died) painting one commission a day. When you feel that your life has come a tad isolated having structure is the way forward I found, like I talked about previously tiny conscious efforts have helped me massively. 

Now this isn't something I have portrayed via my social media, death and loss isn't really something other people truly care about, harsh reality is that they really don't, people feel bad for me but it's not their life and thats ok, we often turn to blogs for inspiration and a place to escape realities. Not to be faced we such sad realities but I have learnt through writing about losing Mum it has given other people the comfort to know that there is life after death, cliche I know but I was blessed with an incredible mother who don't get me wrong had faults but without her I wouldn't be who I am and some people never have that sort of unconditional love in their life, so really I was blessed. 

As I lost that love and 2016 was a rough time, Fast forward to January of this year on a whim I went on a date with a bloke who I kinda fancied, but I wasn't really overly keen on getting into a relationship (god who would want to date an agoraphobic stressed mess who's main joy in life was watching history documentaries and drawing?) and anyone who knows me knows I have some pretty hilarious dating stories so I wasn't expecting much,  But one date lead to another and then it just fell into place. Don't get me wrong and if you ask him its not easy dating someone who occasionally bursts into tears for absolutely no reason, but because of him I feel a lot more like "me" these last eight months then I have felt since Mum's passing. I am pretty lucky to have found someone who is  rather good at absorbing my hard times and making me laugh. He's bought some security back into my life and when at times life feels a little stormy it's nice to have him at the other end of the phone. So yeah life does go on, it's a pretty harsh reality to get your head around and at times I still go to phone or text mum and then realise that she won't ever reply. But It's comforting to know she would be proud of what I've achieved since she's been away.

I don't think life is meant to be easy and I don't think easy is really for me, I like to feel like I've worked for all I have in this life and it's pretty much kept me going in the hard times, so if you are face with anything hard or you feel unsurpassable just know that things do get better, maybe not straight away but I believe that the human spirit is pretty unbreakable and nothing lasts forever, it's ok to struggle and bear your soul because from what I have learn't is you never know who's reading and may need to hear those words. 

I'm not 100% on the path I wish to be on, but I am edging closer to it day by day, I still have the lofty heights of saving enough to buy my own house, buying my first car and creating more important work but I have a fire in my belly this September that I am hoping will propel me to better things and that at the end of the day is all we can hope for in life. 

10 September 2017

creating a cozy space for Autumn

One of the favourite parts of my job is probably the fact I get to work from home, I get to fill my space with all the things that inspire me, I am pretty lucky that I get that opportunity. I recently ventured to Ikea to get a few things to fill my space with, I am still lusting over an armchair but I think I'll just wait until I move before I invest in a big old arm chair, anyway I picked up some new shelves and excitedly picked up a square pin board which has completely changed my wall space. 

When the season changes it's tough to often be motivated to work, the space is dark and slightly depressing so I decided to invest a little money in framing art work clearly, organising the desk space but mainly creating a warm and comfortable space. 

Whilst in T K Maxx I came across some pretty fab smelling candles, I only ever really use my Candles in the winters as the nights draw in it's nice to light certain fragrances to perk up my space. I often go for sweet smelling candles, my favourite shops to get my favourite scented candles from are Tk Maxx, slightly pricer candles that do smell Devine from Anthropologie  and I'ma little bit in love with Lily flame for beautiful scents. Don't get me wrong everyone rates Diptyque but I just can't light my two often because they're so pricey. 

Once I have set down to work in my space I actually treated myself to studio slippers from primark, I spent a crazy £2.50 on a pair and it's important to keep the old circulation when you're sat at your work desk for a few hours and last year my feet where constantly freezing so a little comfort goes a long way. I think investing in your space is really important when you work for yourself as you'll be spending so much time in it getting it perfect is really important. 

7 September 2017

spare a thought

 I am currently heaping so much pressure upon myself that I feel that my brain may explode, I feel its the constant risk I run with being an over thinker. After a little catch up with Natasha who seems to be the only person in my life that can gauge any understanding on the inner workings of my creative mind, after bombarding her with a very stressful personal life issue cough cough court case cough we chatted openly about the pressures we face in our jobs but the pressures who having to have your shit together in life. 

Now let me be candid about this, I'm currently feeling like I'm failing at life, there I said it. I recently received a pretty lengthy message from a reader over on my Instagram talking abut being a fan of what I do. I was so flattered but at the same time at a loss for what to actually write back. I have no idea how I'm holding my life together, outward appearances would suggest it's a pretty nice life, and it is the majority of the time. But I don't have my shit together at all. 

Since turning 29 it's hit me a bit like a brick wall, the old biological clock is ticking, and hell I would make cute kids but you can't exactly turn to your boyfriend after 8 months and be like fancy it? the answer would be a panicked no but not just from him but from me. I'm creating this pressure from external sources, 95% of my mates have bought they're own home (they live outside of London) they're all pretty much engaged and either have kiddies on the way or a few. Now as Natasha pointed out they probably look at my life, of blog events and being my own boss and wish heck that sounds like fun, no need to change shitty nappies there but it's not all freebies and mingling with pretty people. I haven't made as much as I would of liked to this month, I'm chasing my ass and to top it off it's coming up to mum's 2 year anniversary since she passed so it means having to drag my sad ass outta bed to be my own boss. 

I think we all have lost sight of how life really works it's not through comparisons on a phone screen or beating ourselves up because others appear to be winning at life and we aren't I guess all we can do is be happy for those people bossing at their lives and then taking the time to evaluate ours and doing everything in our power to bring what we need into ours. It is pretty hard to remember on a daily basis that it is really about the journey and not the destination.  

I have so steadily come to the conclusion I might never feel fully satisfied, tonight I have the closing party of the Helmet project which is amazing and we are raising money for brain injuries and I am exhibiting along side the likes of Grayson Perry, Jake and dinos chapman and some of my favourite tattooist. Now if you were to say to me ten years ago that, that would be the case I would of felt like I had made it, but I guess I'm always pushing my goals but my worry is will I ever feel satisfied with the life I chose? Ah but anyway I guess the moral of the story is to be grateful for the place that I'm at withe people I have in my life and trust the process. 

Can we also just take the time to appreciate Natasha's Devine photography skills, I think these might just my favourite photos of me ever taken, I do really need to get back into my blogging game don't I?!

Outfit details, top is actually a dress from h&m, trousers are George at Asda, boots are dune and the jackets an old faux leather one from Zara 

24 August 2017

Helmets for headway exhibition

 I was contacted by the lovely Alice who I've been friends with a for a few years now to be part of an amazing project with headway which is a uk wide charity that works to improve life after brain injuries, brain damage is something very close to my heart my mother suffered from brain damage which eventually killed her, not from an head injury so it was something I would hate to see someone else suffer with, The exhibition includes some amazing artists like Grayson Perry, Jake and dinos chapman, Emily malice and many more, We were each given a laser helmet and told to create anything we wanted to on the helmet itself. I sat and stared at mine for a solid 3 months so when the deadline to submit arrived in May, I panic painted! 

As some one of loves working in watercolours I decided to paper mache the helmet and just try and create the brightest looking helmet I could. The thought of all these amazing artists submitting pieces did feel a tad bit daunting but I tried to overcome that but realising I had been asked in the same caliber as these wonderful people so I just embraced the fun side of being an artist, letting the art speak for itself. 

So the exhibition is coming up, it will be at Look mum no hands in London on 1st September until the 7th and each helmet is being auctioned off to raise money for Headway uk. You can see the auction here which is super exciting and I just can't wait to see what we can raise.  You can follow the  exhibition with the hastag #helmetsforheadway   

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