4 December 2017

Can love be found on Tinder

Jumper - H&M
Jeans - Boohoo
Fishnet tights - Primark 
Necklace - Handmade by me 

I have been reflecting on life recently,  I was on and off Tinder for about 3 years having had a string of failed acquaintances in that time and I'm pretty sure hundreds of dates that ended in ghosting, lets downs and boredom. After all those years I didn't have very high hopes for the app that pretty much had a reputation for hook ups and free meals. So after a solid three years I was kind of done with the whole dating thing, most of my mates had settled down with their partners and in many ways I wanted this and would always make myself feel like I had failed as I hadn't found myself "the one" I had so many people tell me that Tinder wasn't the place for real and proper relationships and I still tend to agree and at times I just felt that I had got lucky with my boyfriend. 

I'll take you back to early January last year, I had been seeing someone who I genuinely ended up hating and just made me angry whenever I saw him this ended after a few months and the relief I felt was amazing I blocked him and vowed to myself I wouldn't bother speaking to anyone else. That night I had a message from a guy (my now boyfriend) that pleasant and we chatted. I think both of us were pretty bored of the app, I made barely any effort to fully reply as I had promised myself I wouldn't make the effort. A day or two would go by before I would reply to him occasionally I got the "have I done something wrong message" I felt bad so we arranged a date on the Friday his shift patterns meant that it couldn't be sooner. Anyway Friday bowls up and I want to bail. I had had so many dates in the past where it was a complete waste of make up and effort, I didn't need a confidence boost or reason to leave the house. So I text saying I felt off, I could tell after the week of chatting he was disappointed, so I decided to make one last effort. 

I don't do fancy dates, I feel uncomfortable dressed up, so I was glad when we decided on a rubbish little pub where we could just chat and have something to eat, I'm pretty sure it was just us in the pub, which always adds an air of awkwardness but I didn't even really notice. He was hilarious and ate pizza like a child and we chatted for so long that the car almost got locked in the car park. I don't remember much of our next two dates, just endless giggling, chatting and general niceness, but on the third he asked me out. Its always really funny to be asked out as an adult but it was sweet.

I had no faith in Tinder or maybe just the men that I matched with, was it a right swipe at the right time?! who knows, the past 11 months have been a bit of a blur, and I have had some really hard times and doubtful moments and now I feel I don't know what I would do without him. I hadn't really ever been with anyone that could withstand my really down days, or someone that just fully trusts me like he does. I swear the fact he's northern completely changed everything for me, I dated guys from London and to them women were easy to come by on tinder, quick hook ups nothing with any real meaning, but it was nice that we both made the effort and had kind of got to the point we were both bored of our loneliness and decided we were just about tolerable as a couple, ha! 

This isn't a soppy declaration that I'm in this happy bubble all loved up, its not true. I am in love but he is over 4,000 miles away for our first Christmas together, our first New Years, valentines and first year anniversary and Im pretty sure when my brain isn't being distracted I miss him every 15 seconds.  The main thing for me is I like who I've become since I've dated him, I'm still occasionally a handful, with bouts of depression but even knowing he's one text away settles me. I'm working through my trust issues that I have accumulated over many years of being cheated on and made to feel worthless but it doesn't feel overly like too much effort. At times I annoy him with the typical lets be more committed shit, but things happen for people at different rates and I have to remember this. I still find it unbelievably embarrassing that we met on Tinder, hopefully It will kind of be normal soon but not many people ask anymore. 

It truly is hard and takes a hell of a lot of courage to put yourself out there, I wasn't actively searching for love, but I wanted to find myself someone who made me happy and someone I could waste my Sundays with. Everyone deserves to be loved, if online dating isn't for you, thats fine I wasn't the biggest fan but you never know. I am only a month into this long distance thing its tough but most of the toughest things are worth working hard for. I've packed up his Birthday and Christmas present in hopes that it arrives soon so he feels somewhat loved. Heres to another three months away from each other and to anyone wallowing in the depth of tinder wondering where have all the good matches gone believe there are still some goodies out there to be found. 

26 November 2017

Sunday morning rambles my thoughts on being freelance

My brain at the moment seems to be constantly consumed by work, if I'm not drawing peoples portraits I'm planning on how to create the next image for Instagram and how to keep people interested in what I do. It's pretty tiring and does get to me the majority of the time but, its completely self inflicted. 

I am often engulfed with mix emotions on what I do for a living my dad doesn't consider it a living and highly doubt he ever will, he's one of those worriers unless you're in a 9-5 job you'll never make ends meet. So often I have his voice in the back of my head probably reinforcing my fear of failure, but nevertheless I keep doing what I do. I did considered heading back to retail for a bit for a steady income and to squash the fears of the lack of money that might suddenly dry up forcing me to feel like a failure. But I physically can't stop what I do and I have friends telling me off for evening thinking about bailing on what I do. 

Often I'm seen on Instagram stories working, and people say to me how hard I work, it makes them feel bad, that I never stop. Its an odd thing because even the drawings I do for myself I guess I could consider them work. People around me always seem a million times more impressed with what I do to earn my way then I am with myself. I feel that that might be blamed on the good old imposter syndrome I seem to have harboured the last four years I've been doing this.
I'm never completely satisfied with the work I create and in a way I guess thats kinda good for me as I'm always researching, drawing and trying but it does take its toll on the hands, my joints aren't what they use to be in my arms and in my hands, I'm only 29 but the stiffness and pains have settle back into my fingers joints and wrists, and something I think I need to look into in the new year, best ways to keep the arthritis that runs in my family at bay well at least long enough to give me a fair whack at my job. I find the winter months the hardest so hopefully it will soon subside. 

My work is also my crutch whilst my beloved boyfriend is deployed I find it crazy to think how far away he as I type this, the drawing keeps my brain occupied during the dark evenings and slow weekends. So I am grateful to currently be inundated with pet portraits and requests for live illustrations. I get this odd fear each and every time I draw in front of people or even drawing a pet portrait its a constant fear that washes over me, that people will discover I'm a Fraud and I can't really draw and no-one will want any work done by me again - its that pesky imposter syndrome. 

I awoke this morning after a late night drawing, I didn't crawl into bed till 3 am and I awoke at 6:46 am so really I barely slept, I've not been the best at sleeping since Mum died and for me thats one of the worst parts about losing her, its every night before I sleep and every morning just as I awake up, it comes sometimes as a fleeting memory or often before I fall asleep its pretty much a full blown flash back of the morning I found her dying. Those are the times I hate trying to sleep because I know at that point it wont come. So I seek comfort in drawing and I love the moment my brain switches off and I could genuinely lose hours in my own art therapy. 

So really my work isn't really work, it means more to me then making a few quid here and there, its part of who I am as a person. Don't get me wrong  I have client work that I have to slog through and beat myself up over time to time and I often have a good handful of clients who email me about 40 times a day but who doesn't have parts of their job they aren't overly keen on? I'm lucky my talent is being recognised and obviously I would love more publication work but that will happen in time I'm sure. 

You're probably wondering what is the point to this endless ramble, it triggered with me this morning after whilst working last night my best mate was messaging me stressed about repaying her mortgage and at times making me feel like my job wasn't a real job, it just had an air of well now I have more responsibilities then you but guess we can all count our blessing indifferent ways people probably look at my job and see it as an easy ride. It is I guess compared to a nurse, doctor, builder or fireman. But also like other jobs its a hard slog meeting deadlines, chasing work, chasing money, constantly selling myself and often the grass looks Greener on this side of the fence but it take a shit ton of self belief, hard work and stubbornness for me to not admit defeat with it on a daily basis. I myself am also saving for a house on freelancers wage is tough sometimes and disheartening when a client at times goes with someone cheaper or cancels the project, and I am learning not to get excited with things until contracts are signed. Overall I am pretty lucky I wake up everyday set my own times and work on my own projects it could be a hell of a lot worst. 

7 November 2017

The story behind my latest tattoos

Hidden in the depths of my SD card lurch these photos snapped by the ever amazing Natasha I don't often walk around with cling film masking tapped to my arms but I'd waited a while to get another tribute tattoo for my late mum, I now have two dedicated around the time she passed away but six in total for her but these piece meant a hell of a lot more to me then the others. I asked the amazing Dirt Nap who is a long time friend of Lyzi from being little and came high recommend I just always knew it was him who I wanted to create this piece for Mum. 

I am a bit of a veteran when it comes to tattoos and I've got about 24 dotted on various parts of my body some done by ex's some done by me, and the majority done by my favourite artist but these two piece came with the most significance I'm not really one together sentimental tattoos but I wanted something that would be on me forever as a reminded of my Mum's battle those last few days to try and stay alive. I've spoken pretty candidly about my mothers death. You can read a little more here about my loss  and still at times now I feel that I never really had a mother at all as it's still pretty hard for me to comprehend that she wont be coming home. 

The idea behind the tattoo is really pretty simple, when my mum's life machine was switched off and she was pretty much expected to die there and then her heart kept beating for far longer then expected she had some strength left in her as we stood for three hours around her hospital bed waiting for her heart to stop beating, I got the words by Ben Howard an amazing musician that I went to Falmouth Uni with "keep your head up, keep your heart strong" which actually had a weird link to Oli the tattooist who went to college with the singer so I took that as an amazing sign. Now we had planned to have it together on one arm but at the last minute we decided to turn it into two tattoos. 

I was so over the moon and overwhelmed by the work Oli did, on the day of getting it I had it done at Parliament tattoo I just felt this lack of stress and anyone who knows me knows my anxiety levels outside of my comfort zone are just crazy but the day of the tattoo wasn't filled with any stress or dread which made for an really nice experience if you can call getting a tattoo a nice experience. 

I know tattoos aren't for everyone and my dad hates mine, its just an extension of me, sometimes I wish they weren't there so people don't look at me weirdly or question my choices but it's part and parcel I guess of being creative with your skin and barely regret them . I love the meaning and even though these photos don't show how simple and lovely they are I have them on me forever, I know my mum would tut at me and say "Ella you're sucha tit" but that brings the biggest smile to my face and at the end of the day isn't that what life is about, isn't that just the best way to remember someone with a smile and a less heavier heart then yesterday? difference is now I can wear mine on my sleeve to tell the world its ok to miss someone special. 


6 November 2017

Where to eat breakfast in Manchester - Federal Cafe

 I feel very much like an adopted northerner and Manchester has to be by far my favourite city, so last weekend when Ben said he wanted to pop into Manchester to try the goodness that is Federal Cafe of course I jumped at the chance to try something new and I wasn't disappointed. We wandered into the cafe completely unaware of how popular it was and had to wait about 10 minutes to be seated but it took us about 10 minutes to chose what we were having for breakfast as it all sounded so nice 

 The Cafe itself is pretty Diddy and obviously breakfast and lunch are the busiest times so bear that in mind when you go, I opted for the french toast and it was bloody amazing literally massive wedges of goodness. I'm not to sure what ben went for but he added a few things to his plate like extra mushrooms and bacon and he seem pretty happy with his choice. The atmosphere is very lively and it's probably not one of those cafes you could stake out and work from for a few hours as the turn over of customers was pretty high and a little hectic but it was such lovely cafe. 

I'm a massive fan of a good coffee, but I am trying to cut down for my anxieties as to much coffee can push me over the edge but I had to have two as they were so tasty, we did finish off our breakfast was a warm piece of banana bread that Ben was adamant to have with butter, I didn't manage to snap a photo of said banana bread because we pretty much wolfed it down and it might of been up there with my top 5 breakfasts ever. So I think its really worth a visit to Federal Cafe if you are in Manchester because those Australians and New Zealanders really know how to make coffee. 

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