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I do tend to harp on about the fact that I’m from Doncaster and most people pick up this from my accent (‘You’re from up North/Manchester/Sheffield?’. Me: ‘Yeah…at this point I describe in minute detail about where Doncaster is in relation to Leeds and Sheffield’.)

I was asked by Future First if I’d be up for volunteering for a day back at my old college. For those who are unfamiliar with Future First they’re a organisation that links up with schools to colleges and they get in alumni’s to support sessions run by Future First facilitators. I thought it’d be a great opportunity to be able to talk to current students about how I got to where I am an sometimes when you study a degree you don’t always end up doing what you studied.

So what did the day involve?

The day started with a brief introduction with one of the facilitators from Future First, Jeanette, who was super lovely and really energetic right from the start. She got right in and gave me and another person (who already works at Doncaster college) a quick 5 minute briefing about the session and what to except. The two sessions were both about work experience and they were not limited to: how to get work experience, how to answer questions during interviews, approaching companies about work experience, building up their confidence and the benefits of getting experience. The volunteers are basically supporting the groups of students during group work and discussions, any questions the students had in terms of work experience (as this is what the session was about) we’d be able to answer them 1:1 as a group.

All in all there seemed to be mixed responses on getting work experience. Some students thought it was pointless getting work experience. I tried to explain to some of them that it’s about building towards their future and trying to get as much positive experience the earlier on in their career, at the end of the day I told them that their tutor or teachers aren’t going to be there to tell them what to do. Some of them had explained to me that it was very difficult in getting work experience due to the high volume of other students applying but also the fact is that Doncaster is a vey small town, therefore there are a lot less opportunities compared to other larger towns and cities. The route through education from the time you leave is such an important time to learn what you like and don’t like. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with not doing things you don’t like because what would be in point in that? It’s more about building up on communication skills, networking with other people, exposing yourself to situations where you have to think on your feet. One student said that being a YouTuber was a job and that’s what he wanted to do. I wasn’t completely phased out about what he said but I encouraged him to build up on his interests and I emphasised how important it is to gain these set of life skills.

What did I take away from the day?

A lot. I sort of had mixed feelings by the end of the day. I actually left me feeling like I wanted to do more for our generation if I’ll be honest here. I can see why some of the students see work in general completely pointless- there seems to be underlying social and political issues going on here which makes me think a lot about Doncaster and how I got to where I am. The first thing here is opportunity. Or, should I say opportunities. Doncaster is a relatively mixed area, poverty is quite apparent especially if you look at the high street for instance which is a good indicator.

Secondly, the individual’s attitude towards education and work. We live in a society whereby instant gratification of objects and images (scrolling through Instagram) is immediate; we buy, we consume, we throw away stuff. And the whole cycle continues. If it’s easy to consume goods then you’re probably less likely to see the point of work. Also, they’re transitioning into adulthood and that itself is pretty freaking scary. When I look back into my early to late teens it was such a weird time in my life because I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do, whilst revising for my A-Levels and catching up with my friends. I do really emphasis with the younger generation and I don’t mean it in a patronising or horrible way. The youth have got it even harder today: high rents, low waged jobs, bloody Brexit, the affordability of housing- oh, man I could go on!

If you ever come across with the chance to volunteer with Future First, I would 100% tell you to do it. Why? Because now is the time to invest in our future generation and it made me think of the choices I made when I was 17.

Happy Tuesday everyone. ✌️

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post about fashion; I’ve wanted to write one for quite some time now but life at the moment is throwing these fantastic curve balls. All I want to do is hide away and sleep. The reason why my interest in fashion has picked up again is because it’s been my current distraction (in a positive way). I’ve started getting back into reading fashion blogs again (good old Style Bubble) as well as looking through fashion magazines i.e. me standing there at the magazine racks for about half an hour on my own sifting through magazines like there’s no tomorrow. For the past couple of months I’ve been mulling over Gucci’s past and present collections. I’m in love with the whole aesthetic and it’s been my influence in terms of my wedding look. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to spend £600+ on shoes but one can dream- and dream some more. Talking about dreams, I love the fact that Gucci have gone slightly overboard/eccentricity shines through in terms of creating dreamy retro prints and turning it into something modern and youthful fused with 70’s and 80’s glamour. Throw in loads of sequins, beautiful embroidery, bold and clashing colours teamed with over-sized sunglasses.

I’ve always admired designers such as Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Kenzo and Rei Kawakubo who have their own creative vision in that their clothes becomes much more about objects to look at and to admire- almost like a piece of artwork rightly so. Fashion isn’t just about this simplistic idea of wearing clothes for the sake of it (like ‘fast fashion’ for instance), the impulsive need to constantly consume excessive amounts of imitations of things or simply because it’s ‘in’ right now. I’m sorry to say but those massive Fila trainers from Urban Outfitters are awful. AWFUL. Unsightly to say the least.

For me, the art of fashion is about how it can transcend time- going back and forth from the past to the present- this idea that time is stuck in one moment simply isn’t true. The fact that there’s almost no boundary as to where fashion can take you is what inspired me in the first place to dip into fashion illustration. For a long time I used to look through Fruits as a source of inspiration for my work. I think it was the fact that young Japanese folks use fashion as a way to carve out their own identify, their taste in music, other subcultures, the fact that who gives a toss if you don’t ‘fit’ into society.

I suppose I’m getting off onto a tangent here, right? I can see a part two of this post coming very soon!

Gucci has inspired this next series of work which I’m currently work on for a show in May and June. I’ve created three pieces at the moment but I’m planning on making some more for the show. I’ve taken inspiration from the embroidery, patterns and motifs used in Gucci’s clothing. Let’s see where this takes me! It feels great to be making collages again; I’ve pretty much gone and done a circle revisiting old methods I used to use from ten years ago. When I look at my work now it doesn’t look like it’s aged if you see what I mean, as in, it doesn’t refer to any point in time like you see with some styles.

I hope to continue with this theme and I’ll be sharing new work as I’m going.

Thanks again for reading this and I’d love the hear your thoughts on today’s post. Have an awesome day and take care.

With the increasing awareness in mental health and mindfulness, I just wanted to share wit you all my personal experience as to why it’s important to look after your state of your mind and personal well-being.

I want to start off by saying this year has been a rather rocky start to the year. It’s not the wedding that’s stressing me out but people and social situations that’s still that’s freaking me out. I’m not going to go into too much details about the ins and outs of it, but you get the gist of it. Work has been increasing stressful lately so I feel as though I’m slipping back into my old ways and letting the small things in life take over me like I have no control whatsoever. My streams of thoughts are constantly adrift somewhere in the vast corners of my own mind where I’m still finding it very difficult to be able to relate to people. I’ve never been a ‘people’s person’ let’s put it that way (I mean, what does that even mean?!).

I’ve explored pretty much all options, like CBT for instance, and it’s great if you have the time and space to do it right in the moment. My day job as a teaching assistant can be very hectic at times so I don’t have the time and energy to able to use the CBT techniques as advised by my therapist. I’ve recently started to take propanolol, which is used for various other ailments, but in particularly for anxiety since it’s a beta blocker. Now, I’ve always been in two minds about using medication but there comes a point in your life whereby there are certain avenues you need to try out and only you know what’s best for yourself. I wasn’t trying to self-diagnose myself but I’ve across it on the web and thought I should give it a go to see if there’s any difference in the physical and metal side of things. This week has been extremely tough if I’ll be blatantly honest as it’s really affected my sleep, so consequently I’m like a zombie in the day time- not really paying attention to anyone or even remotely focused on certain things throughout the day.

I have read that it’s one of the most common side effects from it and, although it’s supposed to be short term, I slightly regret taking it as I love my sleep. My sleep is everything to me. I’m a regular sleeper- always on time- my sleep patterns is pretty spot on too. So the fact that my sleep has become so irregular all this week I actually want to cry. I really hope this doesn’t last that long and that it’s only temporary- otherwise I’m going to completely ditch and find something else.

I’m constantly reminding myself that everything will be ok. Things will slowly work out. It takes time, positive energy and copious amounts of chocolate. Life always throws you those bloody curve balls you’ve just got to go through.

It’s Friday. Thank goodness it’s Friday and that the week is over. I’ll see how the weekend goes with the propanolol. I just want more sleep right now!

I’ve been waiting for so long to write up this post and, well, the moment you’ve all been waiting for folks: the WEDDING INVITE REVEAL! Yes, the day has finally come where I can show you my wedding invites- I’m super excited right now!

It’s been one of the best pieces of works I’ve done, not only because it’s personal and right from the heart, but I think it’s every designers dream to design their own wedding invites. The whole process took me over a month and a half from start to finish- I started it way back at the start of August of last year and kept on editing it over the past couple of months, but had to stop myself from doing anymore to it other I could’ve gone on and on!

The floral design for the background started off as a couple of small paintings and I then digitally edited the final image in Photoshop. I used inspiration from our travels to various National Trust places last summer and I was inspired by all the seasonal flowers during our time at these places.

For the insides of the envelopes I continued with the floral theme and designed an insert, as well as incorporating a floral motif for the wax seals.

Once I had the design I can use it on other things such as the menus, table seatings, table numbers etc. I wanted the text to be quite clear, bold and clean looking so I used a combination of fonts such as Futura, a hand written font for our names and a modern Times font to compliment the overall design.

My Tips for Designing your own Wedding Invites

  • Have fun with it!
  • Be creative with your design. Some people choose to opt for an email as printing costs can be quite pricey- go with what you want to do and whatever you feel happy with.
  • Decide what elements you want (e.g. text) and keep it simple.
  • Look at what colours go together and choose a couple, too much can look way too busy.
  • I looked online on how to write the intro but you can obviously make your own one up depending on how you want it to sound.
  • Look around for design inspiration, ask a friend to help you go over it i.e. spelling mistakes etc. as sometimes it’s quite hard to pick it up when you’ve spent hours on the screen looking at the same thing!
  • When deciding on the paper I want for something that wasn’t too heavy but still had some texture to it. Minted and Printed both give free samples so you can look at what paper they offer. There are of course lots of other printing companies that offer paper samples, just look around or ask around.
  • I bought the envelopes separately as I wanted to have a different colour as to what the printers were offering. Go with what you feel is best.

That’s it for now and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this. It’s not long now until the wedding- about six months to go now!

Happy Tuesday and enjoy the rest of the week.

Hello lovely readers! This is going to be a very quick post about how to make paper flowers. I’ll be going through step-by-step on how to put together paper flowers for all your spesh occasions. There are loads of books and online tutorials on how to put together paper flowers (thank you Pinterest as always); I won’t go into detail about using different types of paper etc. as I feel that it’s up to you to go and have some fun and experiment with this part of the process.

I’ve been making paper flowers since the start of October as my plan for the wedding reception was to have a mixture of paper flowers on the tables and a BIIIIIGGGG flower installation hanging across the beams. I’m getting pretty adventurous here and I’m not sure if I’m jumping the gun, like, but I thought I’d make as many as I can from now until the wedding and see what happens really!

In my previous post I wrote on how to make paper flowers using a die-cutting machine and this post kind of follows on from that. For this next step you’ll already need some paper flowers ready so that you can make the stem for it and add any other details you want to it.

Alrighty, so let’s get making paper flowers folks!

What You’ll Need

  • Paper flowers and leaves at hand
  • Floral tape
  • Pliers
  • Floral wires (available from most craft shops)
  • Cutting mat
  • Glue gun and loads of glue sticks!
  1. Depending on how high you want your flower I’d use one piece of wire per flower. If you want to make smaller ones then cut the piece of wire using pliers.
  2. Wrap the wire using the floral tape from top to bottom, stretching it and twisting it as you go. Remember to press into the tape as you make your way down it. The easiest and fastest way is to literally spin the wire around the tape and that way you cover all of the wire.
  3. If you want to add stems to it repeat steps one and two; to add different heights to the flower place the stems randomly or as naturally as possible.
  4. Have cut out green leaves for the bottom of your flower and make a hole in the middle of it by pushing through the floral wire.
  5. The next step is to assemble everything together. As you can see from the photos I’ve used two pieces of green leaves which holds the flowers to add texture to it.
  6. Get your glue gun ready!
  7. Glue together all the pieces together, pressing them together firmly as you go. For the last part of the green leaves (BEFORE you stick on your flower), bend the wire so that it secures and holds the green leaves.
  8. Add more glue to the top part and press together your flower.
  9. Keep going and add more leaves to your flower(s).
You can see from this photo that I’ve added green leaves to the bottom of the flower heads. This holds the wire and the flower head together (step 7 and 8).

I’ve found that using different shaped leaves and flowers can really make the whole thing stand out. There are kits online where you can easily assemble them together, however, this is so much fun and the fact that once you get into the rhythm of it, you can make a few in one go.

Like I said, there are lots of books on how to make different types of paper flowers (e.g. crepe paper flowers)- I’m pretty much going to stick with this style as it’s easier for me to make one big batch in one go. We are hoping to give them away at the end of the evening, which will be a rather lovely gift for our guests as we’re not doing wedding favours.

Get crafty folks and enjoy the rest of your weekend!