Thursday, 24 July 2014

London Blogcademy part 2



 My second post on the London Blogcademy I attended last weekend. I think I'm still processing and digesting everything I learnt! I'm going to talk a bit more about what I learnt and why I loved it so much, but first a few (dozen) more photos!

 On the second day there was a photobooth. If you know me, then you know how much I bloody love a photobooth. If I'm at an event and there is a photobooth I will be dominating it all evening. I restrained myself a bit but did manage three different turns in there, including a solo boothing experience!


 One of the highlights of the weekend for me was the exercise taking still life photos. I'm a big fan of arranging stuff and taking pretty photos, and it was so awesome seeing others sharing my love and watching the behind the scenes process as people chose what items to include, how to arrange them, and then the final result.

 

 So why did I go to Blogcademy? The truth is, I just wanted to hang out with cool people for a weekend, take photos, and get a goodie bag. Stupid huh? But since starting my own business I seem to have this permanent longing to be around other creative people because that's what gets my creative juices flowing. And it worked - I walked away from the weekend feeling overwhelmingly inspired and motivated and filled with ideas. Not necessarily direct learning from the class (although the three headmistresses covered pretty much everything you could want to know about blogging!) but full of life learning. This weekend I came to the sudden realisation that I can do so much more than I am currently doing. That I've been playing it safe and hiding who I really am because of some childish worry that other people won't like me or won't get me. That I have let myself down by squashing down my dreams and ambitions so they fit in line with what other people think I should be doing, or thinking, or wearing.

Have you ever been on a holiday and arrived back home just feeling so full of life, and of experiences? You didn't necessarily sit down and study, but you learnt all the same through just being there. That's how I feel. I can't explain how it feels to sit and hear other people talk so passionately and knowledgeably about something you've never been able to talk about with anyone else properly before. To hear what they've achieved through their blogs, has given me a renewed sense of direction and purpose with not only my own blog, but also my whole business.


When was the last time anyone stood in front of you and basically said 'go and do whatever the hell you want, because you are awesome and you can do all those things and so much more'? Because that's what I've taken away from this weekend. A newfound sense of empowerment that I didn't even know I was missing! There is a whole world out there and I want to own it and make it mine, and do all the things I've been dreaming about for so long. It's time to stop daydreaming and start doing. No more boredom. No more bullshit. No more blathering.

Studio Tour


I moved studios about 18 months ago, and have only just gotten round to taking photos of my new space! I can't believe how quickly the time has gone by - it seems like only a few months ago I was painting the walls. First up, I wanted to clear up something, in the spirit of honesty. When I say 'my studio' people get the idea that I rent a huge warehouse space in East London or something. Not true. My studio is the spare room at home. When I say I moved studios, I moved from a room downstairs to a room upstairs. It's a nice size room, but it's too small for me. As the business has grown, so has my need for space. There is stuff EVERYWHERE and I spend most of my time moving piles of it from one spot to another! That's not me looking for sympathy - I know how lucky I am to have a dedicated workspace, but I also don't want people to think I have it all figured out!

But I do want to give you a little tour around this crazy little place I call Ladybird Likes HQ. It's messy and crammed full of a hell of a lot of junk, but it's all mine and I love it! When you enter the door and turn to the right I have my computer desk space. I have a huge wraparound desk (it's not really a desk, it's just worktop fitted in to use as much space as possible) which covers two and a bit walls! This is where I do all my computer based work, and where I store all my files etc.

The wall above this area is covered in prints, photos, postcards, magazine cutting, tickets, business cards.... anything I find inspiring. It is constantly changing and evolving which I love. Although sometimes I long for a big empty white wall, I need to be surrounded by pretty things to stay inspired, so this wall acts as a sort of giant moodboard.


This corner of the desk sits in a little alcove, and is where my files and folders are kept. Above are shelves with my printer/scanner on and more files (I seem to have a never-ending amount of papers and documents to find homes for!) Underneath the desk is my huge laser printer, plus a filing cabinet where I keep stationery and all my old accounts files.


 Under the window is another large section of wall, spanning the whole width of the studio. This is where I make items and package orders. The desk is mostly empty, except for this corner where I keep supplies and some pretty/inspiring little knick knacks. I have shelves with boxes and baskets on for keeping supplies I use regularly in (packaging for jewellery, business cards, postcards, that sort of thing) and under the desk are two small filing cabinets with shallow drawers which I use for keeping general supplies and tools such as glue, paint, string, cello bags, card blanks etc.



 If you turn left when you enter the studio you will find the least 'pretty' area! Aside from my bookcase tucked in the corner, this whole wall is dedicated to storage. The brown and black boxes (just seen in the photo below) are stacked on three shelves, each containing finished jewellery pieces. As I can't make my items to order (I have the pieces laser cut, so it's not economical to order one pieces at a time) I make them in bulk and store them in these boxes. Underneath are drawers for storing components and jewellery boxes. The narrow bookshelf holds my favourite craft/business/photo books. Most of my books are kept downstairs in two huge bookcases (I have a serious book addiction/fetish) but I keep a few of my favourites up here to flick through when I need to be inspired! I also store some little trinkets on here, most of which were gifts or are handmade items from designer/maker friends.


 My studio does not normally look so tidy. In fact, I think this is the neatest it has been since I moved in! I was going to share a shot before I had a good tidy up, but I wanted to show the room off at its best. Maybe I will share a messy shot over on Instagram so you can all see how disgustingly messy I am!


Whenever I post photos of my studio the two things people always ask about are my rainbow keyboard, and my washi tape holder! The rainbow keyboard decals are from Etsy - I have blue galaxy print ones on my MacBook Pro. They are basically stickers which you place individually over the keys, and are easily removable when you want to change them up (although once you've removed them you can't restick them.) There are hundreds of different ones available, you just choose your design, and choose which keyboard you want to stick them on. The washi tape holder is actually a ribbon holder, which I bought in Hobbycraft about four years ago for around £15 (but there are loads online too). It's the perfect size for washi tape, and means I can easily see what I have!

What is your workspace like? If you've written a post about it please leave a link below so I can check it out! One of my favourite things to look at over on Pinterest is other people's studios.  Also, next week I will be sharing a post full of my top tips for creating a workspace that is both practical, functional, and pretty, regardless of what size area you have to work with.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Kate Spade Polka Dot iPhone Case

kate spade phone case

If you know me then you know how much I flippin LOVE a polka dot. Especially black and white polka dots (black on white or white on black, doesn't bother me!) But I'm one of those weirdos who only likes a particular polka dot. I absolutely hate when polka dots on an item are different sizes, or different colours. I have no idea why, but it seriously irks me! I like my polka dots uniform size and distribution and colour please!

The point is, knowing my love of polka dots, particularly the black and white variety, it's no wonder I immediately fell head over heel's in love with this Kate Spade iPhone case (which you can purchase right here ) It goes with absolutely everything (anyone else match their phone case to their outfits? No, just me?) and it stops my phone getting bashed about in my bag. WIN!

polka dot phone case
iphone 5c phone case
polka dot phone cover
polka dot items
polka dot close up

This is only a very tiny selection of my black and white polka dot items. Most of the other items are clothes - it's actually kind of embarrassing how many spotty tops and dresses I own! Am I the only weirdo with an obsession for uniform polka dots? Holler at me if you share this love!

(Please note; items in this post have been gifted. All opinions, reviews, and photos are my own.)

London Blogcademy part 1


London Blogcademy

I am currently sitting at my desk buzzing with ideas and plans and dreams - my mind is racing with all the things I want this blog to be, and all the places I want it to take me. For a while there I'd kind of lost my blogging mojo. Blogging had become something I did because I thought it was what was required of me. I wasn't giving it a lot of thought or attention, and had even grown to resent it slightly as I had to take time out from running my business to write blog posts. NOT COOL!

Over the weekend I was lucky enough to attend The Blogcademy. Run by three incredibly kickass blogger/business ladies; Kat (from Rock n Roll Bride), Gala (from Gala Darling), and Shauna (from Nubby Twiglet), it was billed as a weekend of good old-fashioned schooling on starting and running a blog. But it turned out to be SO much more!

London Blogcademy
London Blogcademy
London Blogcademy

Held in Curtain Studios, in East London, the space was a huge photographer's studio. All white walls and huge windows, it was absolutely perfect. The whole studio was decorated with handmade props and decorations in Blogcademy colours (which also coincidentally happen to be Ladybird Likes colours, so I was totally in my element!)

London Blogcademy
London Blogcademy
London Blogcademy
London Blogcademy
London Blogcademy
London Blogcademy

Although most of the event was centered around Kat, Gala, and Shauna talking and giving presentations, there was also lots of time for chatting with other attendees, and also to get one to one advice from the Headmistresses. It was so awesome being surrounded by like-minded people who understood why you were carefully arranging items on the floor for an Instagram still life, or who didn't shoot you weird looks because you were taking a selfie wearing glittery animal ears. Over the last year or so I have definitely noticed that the more time I spend around people who 'get' me and who are passionate about the same things as me, the more confident I get, and the more creative I become.

London Blogcademy
London Blogcademy

As part of the Blogcademy we all received a personalised 'report card' with areas we could improve on or things we could try out on our blogs. It was a really good kick up the butt for me, realising that other people could notice from reading my blog that a lot of my content was 'filler' rather than stuff I was super passionate about. I was totally THRILLED however that they all liked my blog design, as I've spent many years of tweaking to get it how I want it!

London Blogcademy
London Blogcademy

Throughout the event there was an artist doing watercolour illustrations of the girls and what they were talking about - they were seriously incredible, and I wanted to take one home with me! One of my biggest wishes is that I could draw or paint - I think its such a useful talent to have.

London Blogcademy
London Blogcademy
London Blogcademy
London Blogcademy

The only person I knew at Blogcademy beforehand was Harriet from Hello Harriet - it was so nice to see a friendly face there, as it was a little like turning up for your first day at a new school, wondering what people will think of you and if anyone will talk to you! Harriet brought along a bunch of tattoos featuring her illustrations (these were custom made for Blogcademy, but she has lots of other super cute ones in her Etsy shop.) We obviously had to put them on and pose for a billion photos with them!

London Blogcademy


I have a second blog post coming on Thursday focusing more on what I learnt at Blogcademy, and why I'd recommend it to anyone else who feels stuck in a rut or wants to push themselves forward. Thanks for reading xoxo