27 January 2017

My go to day to night outfit.

I am not the biggest fan of change, even little things can throw me a tad. I know what you're thinking where is the leather jacket? I decided to branch out for a change I managed to get this over sized faux fur number from primark a few weeks ago in the sale and I am in love! As you are all very aware the darkest shade of black is my friend and always what I opt for when I dress, and hanging out with Michelle was no exception. We decided to meet at Kings cross and head to the trust Grain store for warmth and a good old catch up. My diet recently has been lacking in a lot of goodness so jumping into this amazing meal with really needed, you can imagine it was fuel by a few soya lattes. We then decided to hop on the train and head to the seven dials for more catching up and snapping some photos. It's always so nice to see Michelle because no matter what we get upto we have a good laugh and talk all thing business and blogging, we are one of those old timer bloggers who just get when each other need a little support and a good chat.

At the moment I'm loving being able to mix up layers, its pretty cold in London and since I have lost weight the circulation in my feet is pretty none existent? so its all about boots and woolly socks, there is nothing worst then wandering around genuinely not being able to feel your toes. So this outfit had to encompass a day wandering around London and then dashing across town for a dinner date with the boy, so I wouldn't normally wear my faux leather trousers I find it just gives the outfit that luxe and simplest look that works for both day and night, for my evening date, wearing elasticated trousers probably in hindsight wasn't the best idea after a while the food consumption was felt but so worth it and easily hidden under the giant coat.

18 January 2017

Vegan Menu - Veganuary All Bar One

So I had the pleasure of sampling the new Vegan menu at All bar one, I have been a big fan of people trying Vegan food and trying to eat less processed and animal based products for the last two years. This January there is a thing called Veganuary were its a little like dry January where people are going Vegan for the month of January, everything in the aid of helping animals and eating healthily.
So me and Natasha were excited to get stuck into the menu.

The All Bar One restaurant in Leicester square was beautiful, the lighting the d├ęcor was just perfect, so totally made for the best photos, the blogger in me was too excited! The first thing me and Natasha spotted was how reasonable the prices were. It was £13 for three courses so you can imagine we got a little excited.

For starters we decided to go for Patatas bravas and then crushed avocado and tomato bruschetta and I was shocked by the size of the starter, I always get a little grumpy if the food I've ordered is on the smaller size what with me struggling to find good vegan food I was so happy with the size of the starter. The Patatas Bravas was lovely with the lightly spiced tomato sauce and both me and Natasha agreed that the bruschetta was a lovely balance with the slightly salty Kalamata olives.

After wolfing down all the potatoes and spicy dip I needed a refreshing drink along side a nice soya latte we both picked a firefly vegan friendly drink, I went for the peach and green tea and Natasha enjoyed the kiwi lime and mint, it was nice to find someone that had thought about the drinks, there were only two options on the menu but it was nice to try.

The main plates are amazing value for money and Natasha decided to try the Miso rice bowl and I went for the Kale and houmous flat bread, there was once again a wonderful amount to eat and we both sampled each others, there were amazing flavours in both and colour wise they were fab to photograph. I would really recommend mine because not only did it come with chips it has a wonderful jackfruit chutney that had such a wonderful sweet flavour compared to the spicy kale pakora  

Last but no means least we went for a raspberry sorbet and then chocolate chilli and cardamom cake with a rather thick chocolate sauce, the cake itself was wonderfully indulgent and Natasha's sorbet was pretty tart but very refreshing and if I'm honest it felt like a really well put together menu. It's really worth a try and for a three course meal per person with a drink to come in under £16 well it really was value for money and if you are thinking of sampling Vegan food its really worth a try pretty hearty and very tasty.

Thank you All Bar One for allowing us to sample the food, all opinions and photos are my own.

15 January 2017

a sense of calm

Its amazing how we don't see it and then we catch a glimpse of it, in the above photo id forgotten that sometimes I can look like my mother in profile, it was for a brief moment that I scarcely recognised my own face, strangely comforting and heartbreakingly sad. But it made me realise a few things, that me and my mother are still connected even though she isn't here in person anymore she's still here, present in me, that I'm pretty lucky to look like her and I'm rather glad my double chin isn't as big as it use to be ha!

I am slowly making conscious choices to be less angry when I now think of my mums passing, my ability to create has help focus those negative thoughts, I've managed to fill my space now with things that keep me lifted and focused.  My new work has been a blessing and proven to be one of my best sellers. I have had a lot of people ask me where the new style has come from and if i'm honest I have always drawn like this just kept it hidden in the depth of my sketchbook as I deemed it less commercial but i'm so pleased with the response and you can buy them from my studio shop with 10% off till Saturday with the code yoyo16

Since I have been creating pieces of work that have been inspired by my childhood love or animals and plants I have felt far more connected to my mother then I had in previous months, maybe its the chance to be a relaxed and calm but whatever it is its working.


14 January 2017

five ways to find more joy and calm in your day

If anyone follows me on Instagram will have noticed I have had a few bouts of anxious moments god knows where its come from but I am slowly doing a few things a day to make myself happier and more grounded.

I thought I would share with you my five favourite things to do to bring a little more joy to my day.

1. Go for a walk. It's as simple as that, take yourself outside even when its chilly being out in the fresh air really does help lighten your mood, 30 minutes of walking a day as proven wonders for my mental health.

2. Have a break every 45 minutes, breaking your day down makes you more productive, gives you a chance to refocus what you are doing and calm you a little.

3. Compliment someone, everyone likes to be told they look nice, simple things you could say to a stranger on a train that you like their scarf or a work friend that you enjoy their company little mood boosters like that can make everyone smile.

4. Have a cuppa. If your thing is coffee have a coffee if its tea grab a nice hot brew, simple things like boiling the kettle and waiting gives you time to think and enjoy the process of making your drink just those five minutes can be calming.

5. Meditate. I have headspace on my phone and do occasionally forget to use it, it's a great app and takes you through step by step ways to meditate. You can also just do some simple breathing techniques of inhaling and exhaling calmly counting to 10 and just repeating.

So there are a few of my favourite ways to calm myself and bring some simple joy to a busy life. Would love to hear some of the things you do to cheer yourself up and calm yourself down.

13 January 2017

Etsy Resolutuins 2017 and my top tips for new small buisness owners

As we approach the middle of January often those well thought out new years resolutions fall by the way side, I know I do it all the time, and often dreams are over shadowed sometimes by logical thinking or as I'm prone to this the dreaded over thinking kicks in. Well as much as I am an over thinker I am also one for not letting many circumstances stop me from pursuing my job and my business. Let me share a little story with you.

I grew up in a big family, not might in the way of money or things and I decided from a very early age that my dream was to live by the sea, draw and live off what I made, that was it that's all I can truly remember wanting that and to get into Chelsea college of art (god knows why) so at the age of around 12/13 I set up from a prehistoric computer a myspace page and from there I started to sell hand drawn and illustrated tee shirts to all the scene and emo kids and it was a little bit of fun and people love what I did anyway fast forward to 2010 and I had just graduated from Falmouth University with a grand saved in my bank account I decided I would look for a part time job and make things on the side, illustrated a few things here and there and people liked them, my bearded  men became pretty popular and I started to get a name for myself. It was a great feeling, but there were pit falls and I gave up pretty easily over things and as driven as I was I was and still am afraid of failure, it's one thing as a good business owner to have a strong gut when it comes to investments and work and sometimes I was afraid to take leaps and this did hold me back a little in progress when it came to expanding things. This is something that I have added to my business resolution list for 2017, be more ambitious and less fearful of failure.

This be more ambitious fits in nicely with the Etsy resolutions where you can sign up of you want to start your own Etsy business in 2017, you will get expert advice over email and they will help you off on the right, now I wish I had that when I set up my store way back in 2010. I wanted to share some of my own tips and advice when it comes to setting up an online business.

Business plan!?
Everyone says to create a business plan I never made one as I always felt that I would spend way to looking making it and never actually doing it. So I wrote a few quick bullet points regarding stock, illustration lines and prices to sell them at, probably massively unprofessional but it worked for me.

Social media
I love Instagram and I enjoy sharing my work and progress and 85% of my business stems from it, its a great tool to utilise, blogging has been my baby now for 10 years social media is where you can do your own free marketing so learn all you can and become a whizz.

Book keeping
Learn to book keep, I am massively rubbish at this but on Etsy you can track sales and print things out so I always found that to be helpful

Have a little savings behind you, when I left my full time job I had about £800 saved, yep I hated my teaching job that much I straight up and walked out after 3 years with  no savings so I had to make it work if I was to survive.

Never compare yourself
Never compare yourself to others, straight up don't do it! learn to love what you do and then what others do is no concern of yours, stay true and faithful to what you want to make and you'll be golden!

Invest in good postage
This was my downfall in early stages of my business items got lost in the post and people hated waiting and wanted things instantly be prepared to occasionally have annoyed customers don't take it too personally just improve how your run your shipping.

Slow and steady
I have been doing this now for over 10 years, I have run a jewellery shop, illustration shop, t-shirt shop all these things have cumulated and have helped me get to where I am today, don't be hard on yourself if it takes a while for things to pick up keep going and keep creating.

2 January 2017

Why i'm a little in love with Bailey Nelson

As a kid I remember my mum wearing these massive classic 80's style glasses and always think gosh I wish my eyesight was shit so I could be like her?! Fast forward twenty years and my eyesight wasn't as bad as my mum's but I have the snazziest pair of glasses thanks to Bailey  Nelson. I've only ever really been able to afford the cheap pairs from other options nothing near as on trend and as stylish as the ones from Bailey  Nelson.

I'm always pretty nervous if I have to go to any appointment but as soon as I arrived at the spitalfields shop it felt really trendy and welcoming, the optician came out ( possibly the most stylish opticians I had ever seen) and was really calming and chatty. It turns out my eyes weren't as bad as I thought but my stigma was still there and I need them for drawing and reading. I opted for the Markova style with Yellow tortoise shell and I am a little bit in love with them. These are the only glasses I don't feel self conscious in, they fit me perfectly and they pretty much go with every outfit.

The glasses themselves with the lens in were £98 and the eye test I believe was around £20 and if like me you hate phoning anywhere I booked online making my anxieties reduce by about a million percent, these glasses and the experience were value for money and the wide choice of stylish affordable frames is pretty good, I was able to collect my new glasses within days, and I was genuinely excited about wearing them, as soon as I jumped on the train home I popped them on and started reading.


1 January 2017

my studio space


So guess what I did with my last day of 2016? Washing all my bed sheets, packing away old clothes and sorting my desk, crazy right? But I wanted to start my 2017 on a good note, I decided to do a few simple things that when I wake up in 2017 will put a little smile on my face, I work from home, I have for the whole of my freelance career it's a sort of love hate relationship with the space I have nestled between my desk and window sits my bed which is often a struggle to avoid, unless its super cold and dark outside working from my desk is one of my favourite things. I decided at the start of the year to fill my room with as many plants as I could as they often remind me of my mum who was a florist and they just lift a room and fill it with so much life (obviously) just adds a little bit extra to a room.

Now it's 2017 (scary I turn 29 this year eek) I brought myself a cheap wall calendar just so I can be way more organised with my little freelance life, this year I'm really wanting to expand my brand so being on top of everything is vital. The one on my wall is a cheap mid year planner from Wilkinsons at the moment you can pick a lot up half price as its the start of the year so hunt one out.

The walls of my room/studio are covered, a little bit like a teenagers room but mine is filled with art work, artists, records, quotes, crosses and so many collections of things I have gathered over the years, for me I find filling my space with inspiring images, I also collect a lot of crap, I just fill my life with it  maybe I need to spend my 2017 de cluttering my life!? In my space I have a wall 12 Ikea box shelves filled with inspiring books that I have kept since University, books are my hidden addiction. I read a book a week if I can I am currently in Love with "In the company of women" by Grace Bonney I snapped mine up a few weeks ago from Amazon, it's filled with really wonderful artists, bloggers and designers. The images and the writing is perfect for dipping in and out of. It's been a great read for me before I snuggle up in bed.

Currently at the moment my work is highly inspired by Mexican art, tattoos, skulls and flowers so I think my studio space is a refection of where my mind is at, at the moment so here is hoping that 2017 is a year of contentment, creativity and art for me. I want to spend the year chasing my artistic dreams and hopefully finding my place amongst things. I am also hoping to finally set up my Youube channel and get creating and sharing my life on there so fingers crossed I can finally get something together for that.

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