Thanks so much for all of the support on Growing a human: Part One - it really means a lot, to me and also that I can help other women. Us girls gotta stick together!
The second Trimester
Ok, so I wasn't off to the best start with my first trimester, but as with most situations: it can only get better! I have really enjoyed weeks 13 to 26, feeling more like 'me' and just generally happier. I had finally become comfortable with the notion that I was going to be a Mama (I prefer it to Mum, it just sounds better! ha) and I felt really passionate about being a 'cool mom', not like the regular moms. 10 points if you got the Mean Girls reference!
When I started to look for cool maternity brands, I stumbled across Cult of Youth - an indie jewellery brand with a rock 'n' roll edge (think skulls and lightning bolts!) by baby mama Kelly Seymour. Cult of Youth kindly let me borrow a Mother locket and Mother signet ring to shoot with and I've got my eye on the Mama nameplate necklace. Love the gothic typography mixed with the delicate chain and metals!
Other 'Cool Mom' brand discoveries include: Tilbea London (for Leopard print baby belly friendly dresses) and The Other Mums (for band style tees with a mama edge).
Baby on board
You might have seen a few ladies in London with a 'Baby on board' badge or even just noticed the priority seating on the tube and buses. Expectant Mums can order a badge for free from TFL and although I thought it was a bit cringey at first, I've found it really useful.
At first I was too 'shy' to ask for a seat when I got on the tube, but ever since I've been working 9.30-6 in an office I've been feeling more confident about asking. That's what the priority seat is there for, right!? I mean, there have been a few awkward moments - people are so rude on the Central and Northern lines! Two women sitting in the opposite priority seats both ignored me when I asked if I could sit down, with another lady mid carriage kindly offering me her seat. This really surprised me, because of everyone they should be sympathetic - what happened to women sticking together? Men seem to be better at offering a seat to a pregnant lady, although a couple of rush hour suits did huff at me. Am I alone in thinking that if you don't want to move, simply don't sit in the priority seats?
Alive and kicking
The day before our 20 weeks scan I felt the first kicks! It was the weirdest feeling - I thought I had imagined it. I was having a really bad day where I just wanted to cry and stay in bed, and I think the baby sensed I needed a little pick me up. The next day we had our 2nd scan (which was a lot more exciting than the 1st) - Jack & I held hands as the Sonographer basically did a tour of the baby; checking their heart, lungs, stomach, bones etc. It was really fascinating, although a little bit weird when she pressed a button and all of a sudden we could see their skeleton! But they seem to be healthy and happy - the best kinda news.
We didn't find out the gender of the baby - we had decided quite early on that we wanted to keep it as a surprise, although it was really tempting to ask once we were in the room! ha It doesn't really matter to us whether we're having a boy or a girl and we thought we might as well stick with the theme of surprises because this pregnancy has been a big one! It's also been nice to not start imagining them as a 'he' or 'she' - I wouldn't want to dress a girl all in pink anyway. Apparently not knowing makes you push harder too, so it'll be a bit of motivation incase I need it in labour.
Back at the 12 week scan in January I had my routine blood tests, but there seemed to be a problem with the sample that confirmed my blood type so I had to go back a few weeks later to give more blood. It's a good job that I'm hot on my pregnancy admin because it turns out that I'm O negative, which isn't normally an issue... unless you're a pregnant lady. Affectionately known as Rhesus Negative, O negative is a feisty blood type that will 'attack' foreign blood cells... like a baby with a different blood type. But the nurse reassured me it's not something to panic about as the chances are that my pregnancy will go ahead with no complications and it won't affect me or the baby. But if I do have any bleeding (pre or during birth), then my body would start to produce the anti-bodies but I'm booked in for a jab to prevent that happening. Still, I just find that so fascinating. Science is crazy!
Self employed Mama
Around week 20 I started to think about the headache that is 'Maternity Pay'. As a freelancer, I'm not entitled to statutory maternity pay (which is usually the standard for women in full-time employment), but instead can claim Maternity Allowance which is roughly based on how much National Insurance you've paid. There is a 'test period' based on your due date which you use to support your application, and I found this Maternity Allowance calculator via the Gov website which can help you estimate how much MA you might be entitled to and for how long. To be honest, it's not a huge amount of money BUT it's better than nothing if you need a bit of financial support whilst you adjust to being a new Mum.
Typically, my situation wasn't totally straight forward, as I had been employed (part time) for a section of my test period. All of the information I could find on the internet covered scenarios for women that are either employed OR self employed - not both. I've filled my form out with as much information as I can/think is relevant and I'll let you know what happens when I get the verdict back.
During Trimester One I'd been so concerned about how a lot was going to change, and stubborn in the sense that I wanted to try and have some control over our future. Jack asked me if I wanted to move out of London (as that's what everyone else seemed to be doing) but I was determined that I wanted to stay - I love London and it was the first place that ever really felt like home for me. But one day I was walking through Shoreditch (one of my fave areas) when I just had a weird feeling that I didn't feel the same way about it anymore. Why was I hanging onto the idea of living in London? Purely selfish reasons. Definitely not because it was the best option financially - we'd never be able to afford to buy a house if we kept throwing all of our money on London rent. And a lot of my friends (that I was worried about losing contact with) were also choosing to move out of London (to Margate, Warrington, Canada), so who was I really staying for? Not the baby, that's for sure. (P.S. I'm not knocking anyone who raises a family in London - originally a country bumpkin, having a baby in a city just isn't for me)
So, the search for a new home outside of London began because London is very expensive and so are babies! We knew that I would need to take some time out to look after the little one/ figure out how to balance a baby and freelancing, so we needed to start cutting some costs - rent was the easiest place to start. When we started looking outside of London, rents seemed to HALF in price!
How to choose a new place to call home? Well, Jack would still continue to work in London and commute, and I wanted the option to go into London whenever I missed it/needed to for work so we needed good train links - fast and not too crazy prices (if that even exists when it comes to travel in the UK!?). We also thought about being closer to our families - we're both from the East (near to Cambridge), so it made sense to look North of London so they could come to visit more often/ baby sit haha So that was us saying bye bye to our living by the sea idea - the Margate dream. We started looking in Essex (Chelmsford, Colchester) and Suffolk (Ipswich) and after adding up all of the pros and cons of the areas (prices, travel, vibe, amenities) we booked a train to visit Colchester. First impressions were good - a medium town with history, lots of greenery and only an hour on the train from London. And so the search for our new flat began... until next time ha
Aches and pains. I'm definitely starting to feel the effects of my body changing, as my organs have been slowly squished up into my chest. My back has been quite achey and my feet have been swelling up if I walk too much.
Nose bleeds. I'm a bit over these now - If I stand up too fast or sometimes for no apparent reason whatsoever I'm reaching to stuff a tissue up my nose. Don't let anyone tell you that pregnancy is not rock 'n' roll.
Lumps and bumps. Ok, let's start on a positive here - my bump finally arrived at week 18, woo! And although I'd pretty much burst out of most of my wardrobe by week 20, I am loving having a bump. I've been self conscious of my stomach for a couple of years now (after piling on the pounds after Uni) but now it's round for a good reason... a baby ha I'm determined to still dress like me whilst showing off the bump - more on that soon. Oh, but then there's the lumps. Won't go into this too much, but did you know 1/3 women suffer with piles during pregnancy? Yes, it burns. Jack bought me a special cushion to sit on which helps to ease some of the pressure, bless him.
Take it slow. From week 20, I started to realise that I couldn't push myself as far as I usually do. I've been walking a bit slower and giving myself extra time to get from A to B, which has been a learning curve. I'm still figuring this one out as sometimes I have lots of energy but it can quickly disappear!
Switched on. I feel SO GOOD mentally. Even though I am juggling a lot, I finally feel like I have my shit together in terms of work and adulting life - woo! I'm loving having a bit more structure back in my life, with the 3 days a week in an office and as part of a team. It's made me realise that I work best when I'm around people, so that's something to note down for when I'm finishing my Maternity leave.
Confident. It took me a while, but I finally actually believe that we will be fine. It's one thing to say you think you'll be fine, but to believe it...! I feel like a completely different person to when I first found out I was pregnant. I feel like 'me' again, YAY! I'm naturally an over-thinker, but I keep telling myself that I can't worry about everything - it's just not healthy. We're tackling the challenges as they come at us; financially, career-wise and with a change of scenery as we say goodbye to London (more on that soon).
Happy. I feel so happy at the moment. My whole mindset has changed and I now couldn't imagine things going any differently. Even though I still can't really plan for a lot, I feel excited.
Loved. Jack & I have become closer (even though we were pretty close already) and I feel really loved up at the moment. He stayed over at one of his friend's the other night and I really missed him. So soppy, I know!
With week 27 just about to begin (as I'm writing this), I'm headed into the third trimester and we're one step closer to meeting our little one - eek!
I honestly never saw myself sharing things about pregnancy on my blog, but then again... I didn't expect to be growing a human in 2019. Life is full of surprises!
Since I shared my first motherhood blog post, the response has been amazing with plenty of food for thought. I had so many messages of support and empathy from internet pals who felt the same way - all amazing women who are of a similar age, career and social situation. It really struck me that society is failing a big group of females - the future of motherhood. So I decided that it was really important for me to continue to share what I felt was relevant. I spent hours googling everything about babies, but found the most useful information via bloggers (which I'll share, don't worry!). So, welcome to my journey:
P is for... Pregnant! I was 2 days pregnant here and had no idea!
The First Trimester
As I wasn't expecting to be pregnant I think I was quite late in terms of finding out: I was almost 8 weeks - that's over half way through the first trimester (up to 13 weeks - everything is measured in weeks btw). It was probably for the best though, because I didn't really enjoy those first weeks of being pregnant so I was blissfully unaware in the beginning. Looking back now, I was a hormonal mess and found it really hard to process the changes to our future. I guess that's pretty normal for a surprise baby though - it's a big shock to the system!
Before finding out I was pregnant, I honestly knew nothing about babies, children or motherhood. I'd only held one baby (my niece) for about 10 minutes and was pretty terrified of these creatures which I didn't know how to communicate with. My experience of children in general was really limited, and when I did spend time with them I felt under pressure to perform... just because I was a female of child bearing age. (Ridiculous, I know). I didn't know many 'mums', and I didn't feel like I could really relate to them because I didn't feel like I had a maternal bone in my body. (Although later, one of my friends helped me to realise that I DO have a maternal side, just not in the traditional way that I was holding myself up to.) I'd been following Hannah Gale on Instagram since before she was pregnant, and that was pretty much the only injection of motherhood into my daily life.
I've always been someone that wants to succeed at whatever I do, but motherhood was a complete mystery to me so I didn't know if I could 'succeed' at it. I didn't really know what I was signing up for, yet I didn't want to fail... for me or my child. As we began to tell friends & family, everyone was saying: 'You're going to be such a great Dad!' to Jack, which really affected me because I just needed someone to tell me that I was going to be a great Mum. I know that's totally selfish because I agreed with them and was proud of Jack, but I couldn't help feeling upset. I didn't want it to be a competition pitting us against each other but people don't realise how damaging their comments can be, even if they're said with the best intentions.
Another thing that I struggled with, was the idea of having to give up being 'me' to become 'mum'. I didn't think I could continue to be myself, just with a baby too. Society traditionally says that the Mum has to pause her career to prioritise the baby and I wasn't ready to go along with that. Having written my University dissertation about 'Women in Design', I was well aware of the 'choice' that women had to make between having a career OR a family, and also the lack of women in senior roles because many had decided to focus on their family. I don't think either option is wrong or right, but I didn't want to be forced into a decision - I didn't want to lose control of my life. I watched 'Is there ever a right time to have a baby?' - a documentary by Cherry Healy about 10 times (and cried every time) just to reassure myself that actually, there isn't a 'right time... it's whatever is right for me.
Blissfully unaware... 2 weeks pregnant and no idea in Margate
PhysicallyMorning sickness. Ok, so let's start with the most expected of symptoms. Although, I don't know why they call it 'morning' sickness because the nausea was an all-day event for me (and many other women, according to google). I only actually threw up once, but that put me off cups of tea for a few weeks! I feel like there's a badge of honour mentality with morning sickness - top marks if you're throwing up, but you got off lightly if you just felt sick. Well, I don't know about that... it's horrible feeling sick but not being able to be sick. Each to their own - I don't think either is more or less valid.
Exhausted. I was absolutely shattered even though I wasn't really doing anything. I hate naps (they make me feel ill), but I would fall asleep a couple of times a day no matter how hard I tried to stay awake. In the end I gave up trying to fight the tiredness and embraced the naps.
Aches & Pains. Never thought I'd write this on my blog, but in the name of honesty and all... one of the first symptoms I noticed (even before I'd taken a pregnancy test) was super achey boobs. I felt stupid for not realising, but I was patiently waiting for my period so I'll let myself off. One of the most painful things I've experienced in my life (so far anyway - not been through childbirth yet!) are leg cramps. I'll wake up at 2am in so much pain because my calf muscle in my leg is tensing. There's nothing you can do other than try and breathe through the pain until it relaxes in 3 or so minutes. And you can try to go back to sleep, if you're lucky. But I wouldn't be able to walk properly for a few days - hobbling around in London is not ideal.
Bad skin. I was so lucky through out my teen years - I had really clear skin and never really experienced acne or bad spots. But looks like the hormones have caught up with me because I've had some pretty persistent spots. Like horrible, angry, painful ones on my forehead, jaw line and neck. Admittedly, I don't have a great skincare routine, but I've been trying to moisturise a bit more to keep the wrinkles at bay. I think eye bags are inevitable as a parent though?
Hard belly. I've always carried weight on my stomach, so when my belly started to get firmer I was pretty excited. Obviously having a baby doesn't get rid of the extra fat that's sitting there, but I was looking forward to being able to wear tighter fitting clothes without feeling so self conscious. I didn't really develop a bump in the first 13 weeks, but I would get really bloated in the evenings which made me look pregnant ha
Food aversions. I'd heard about women experiencing weird food habits, but I didn't expect a lot to change really. Being pregnant at Christmas was interesting... obviously I stopped drinking alcohol, which was fine because I'm not a big drinker anyway, but I found myself repulsed by the idea of eating cheese. Cheese is usually a big part of life/Christmas for me, so I was a bit sad about that. I also couldn't stomach a cup of tea, which I was sad about as that was part of my daily routine. The only thing I really wanted to drink was water, which was obviously great because it's healthy but also a bit boring after a while.
Mama Mural - Painting my first outdoor mural in Shoreditch in November at 6 weeks pregnant. I didn't know at this point and braved the cold without a coat, oops!
MentallyZero motivation. I had no motivation to do anything. I struggled to get up in the mornings and then I just moped around most of the day. I felt trapped in limbo because I'd been making plans for what I wanted to achieve career-wise in 2019, but didn't know if I could do any of it now that I was having a baby. Was there any point in me trying to do anything? Should I just accept 'my life was over' and I was going to be 'just a mum' from now on.
Anti-social. I really didn't feel like myself and became a bit of a hermit: I didn't want to spend time with myself, or anyone else. I didn't leave the flat for a month and avoided social events, finding them too overwhelming and tiring. And because nobody knew I was pregnant, I couldn't explain why I didn't want to see people - my friends probably thought I was being really rude.
Crying. I think I cried everyday for a month. I just couldn't stop crying. I guess it was a mix of the hormones, the fear of the unknown and the fear of change. I felt quite helpless - like everything was out of my control.
Worrying. After we'd been to the doctors to start the process, it felt like FOREVER until we got any kind of information - I didn't feel qualified to be having a baby! Our first scan was over a month away, and I was constantly worrying if the baby was ok because I'd been drinking and doing quite physical work (painting murals - outside in the freezing November cold and also high up on scaffolding at a 9 story house with no lift!) without knowing that I was pregnant. I kept looking at my body for reassurance, and when my belly started to get a bit hard I took that as a sign that everything was progressing as it should be.
The day after everything changed! Back in Margate, but this was the day after I found out that I was pregnant (8 weeks) - still smiling but inside I'm absolutely terrified.
Happy New Year/ Life! 12 weeks pregnant - I was on pineapple juice and the old 'antibiotics' excuse at our New Years Eve party.
Keeping my sanity
When I couldn't tell my friends what I was going through (because it was 'too early' in the pregnancy), I turned to the internet for reassurance. I downloaded the Pregnancy + and Emma's Diary apps, which are both free and have lots of information perfect for anyone that knows literally 0 about pregnancy (and freebie sample packs that you can pick up from Boots). They also tell you what size your baby is each week using fruits, sweet and animals - it keeps things fun and will fascinate your friends and family ha
It also just so happened that there was a wave of ladies that I followed on the internet who were announcing/ sharing their pregnancy experiences just as I needed all of the information.
In terms of vlogs, I binge watched:
- Carly Rowena
- Lily Pebbles
- Rhiannon Ashlee
- Samantha Maria
- Georgia Jones
And I delved into blog posts and Instagram updates from:
- Hannah Gale - Blog and Instagram
- Daisy from Pretty Green Tea - Blog
- Sarah Akwisombe - Instagram
- Teri from The Lovely Drawer - Instagram and Blog
- Kim from Finest Imaginary - Instagram
- Nancy Straughan - Instagram
- Zoe Pearson - Instagram
- Uli - Instagram
- Verity - Instagram
Jack bought us books too: How to Grow a Baby (and push it out) for me, and The Expectant Dad's Survival Guide for him. Both books have a thumbs up so far - we're still reading.
Blimey, that's probably enough to get you started! The first 13 weeks are intense because everything is new and there's so much to learn, but I guess that's why we get 9 months to grow the baby and process everything!? ha
I'm already halfway through writing part two: the second Trimester!
I know bloggers are supposed to be good with words, but I still haven't really worked out how to eloquently say this so...erm, SURPRISE - I'm growing a human!
I hope you can excuse the 5 month blog silence because things have been quite busy around here, but I'm finally back in a good place and ready to tell you about my newest project: a mini-me. So here's a little life update:
In October I felt the need for change: I go through these phases where I reflect on where I'm headed with my career/life and I wasn't happy. I decided to leave the part time job that I'd had for 2 years which had given me a bit of stable income, being part of a team (freelancing can be lonely) and structure to my week. In the end the negatives really out-weighed the positives; the stress was making me ill and the job was holding me back from pushing myself as a freelancer, so I quit. I was so excited to 'be free' and hungry for a new project. (Well, I got one!)
Come November I wasn't feeling too great - I was totally exhausted all the time no matter how much I slept. I thought it was just because I'd been working myself too hard and was coming down with the flu, but it was also around 'that the time of the month'. When nothing happened for 2 weeks I put it down to stress, but after a chat with Emma she suggested I should probably take a pregnancy test. I was still expecting my period to show up, but I took the test just to rule out the possibility and got the biggest surprise of my life: it was positive, and I was speechless! I couldn't even speak to tell Jack - I just handed the test to him.
The next couple of hours are a bit of a blur. I remember Jack hugging me as I cried and saying that he would support my decision whatever I wanted to do (isn't he a total babe?). 1000 questions and thoughts raced through my mind:
- How does Jack feel about this baby?
- Our whole life will change.
- Can we afford to have a baby?
- Can I work on my freelance career and have a baby?
- I don't know ANYTHING about babies!
- This was NOT part of my 2019 plan!
- Can we make having a baby work right now?
- Are we ready to have a baby?
- Are we ever going to be ready to have a baby?
It didn't feel real! Even though I was completely in shock and an emotional wreck, it didn't cross my mind at all that we would get rid of the baby. There were a few things that I knew for certain:
- We loved each other 110%
- We'd been together 8 years and was in a good place relationship-wise (we got engaged in July)
- We had always talked about having a family
- We had recently discussed the idea of a baby
- I wasn't getting any younger (I'm 29)
- Babies are expensive
- Babies are scary
- There was never going to be a 'perfect time' to have a baby
- Everything was going to change
It definitely wasn't like the pregnancy test adverts - I wasn't jumping for joy!
The next day, after keeping quiet for a 12 hour Margate extravaganza (think brunch, location houses, Shell Grotto, screen printing, gallery hopping and more!), I told Emma on the train back to London. Well, I say 'told' her but I didn't know how to get the words out so I showed her a photo of my pregnancy test - a photo paints a thousand words after all! But it didn't feel real.
I booked an emergency appointment at the Doctors and she estimated that I was 8 weeks pregnant. And yet, it still didn't feel real.
We told our families over Christmas (which excused me from explaining why I wasn't drinking or didn't want to eat cheese - eurgh, it made me feel so sick!) and they were so happy and excited for us. But it still didn't feel real.
Since finding out I'd been really struggling to process my feelings and the changes that were to come. Honestly, I wasn't excited about having a baby - I didn't believe it was really happening. And then I felt bad because I wasn't excited - did I deserve to have a baby? I was in a really bad place mentally and I didn't feel like myself at all: I didn't leave the flat for a month and I had no motivation to do anything, work-wise or socially. I just dug myself deeper and deeper into a hole and I felt trapped and really lonely. You're not really supposed to tell anyone before the 12th week of pregnancy (due to risk of miscarriage), and I was keeping up 'a front' for anyone that did know because I didn't want to seem like a 'bad Mum'. Mum guilt is awful. I think I cried every day - I'm crying now, typing this!
I started to wonder if I'd made the right decision.
In January, at week 13 of pregnant life, we had our first scan and... IT FINALLY FELT REAL! It was the most terrifying experience but the baby was looking healthy (and so lively!) and we were both relieved. We started to tell our friends and they were all really excited - we're the first of our friends to have a baby so it's all new and still a novelty (in the best way). Still not 100% sure on the situation myself, I dreaded telling new people so mostly left it to Jack as he was really excited and had the enthusiasm I thought people would expect.
And then, just as I'd started to feel ok about it all, at around week 20 I started to get a bump and I decided it was probably time to tell the internet. With all of my mental struggles, I'd built it up to be this big deal which was giving me anxiety. I imagined that everyone would label me as a pregnant lady/'just a mum'/un-cool and that everyone would unfollow me. I can't explain why I thought that, but as I said earlier I was in a bad place mentally so I'm putting it down to that. (P.S. I feel a lot better now, which is why I wanted to share it all - in case anyone else feels like this)
We went to Rough Trade for a little photobooth fun and to browse records - Jack couldn't find our baby in the British/European B section Ha!
I love the internet - it's been a place where I've grown up, met amazing friends and built up my career. But sometimes, it has it's downsides. Not only was I feeling nervous about the reaction of my news, but as a creative person I was feeling a lot pressure in terms of 'the announcement'. It needed to be perfect. But of course it didn't, I was just putting pressure on myself when realistically people probably wouldn't care. I know, I know. Such first world problems, but I'm glad I can look back now and recognise the irrational behaviour.
Anyway, I realised that I just needed to put it out there because keeping 'a secret' wasn't making me happy. I drafted a caption, edited a photo and decided that I was doing it. On a Tuesday morning I was meeting my friend Ashley for a pre-work coffee, so I got the tube at rush hour and sat on the platform at Tottenham Court Road hovering over the 'share' button. I felt really sick (not morning sickness by this point ha) but I pressed it and then closed the Instagram app.
As comment notifications popped up on my phone screen, I cried - tears of relief I think. The response was AMAZING! I know that I shouldn't need comments and likes to feel validated, but after all of the anxiety, I just needed some reassurance. Everyone was so lovely and I felt better with it being out in the open: I didn't have to hide my 'Baby on board' badge anymore, paranoid that I'd bump into someone.
At 25 weeks I'm still terrified about the unknown but I'm feeling great, both mentally and physically. I feel like 'me' again, I'm 3 weeks into a dreamy Freelance gig (Social Media at West Elm) and I love having a baby bump. Sure, I'm having some maternity clothing struggles (where are all the cool mum-to-be clothes at!? That's a blog post for another time...) but I'm taking it all in my stride.
As surprises seems to be a theme, we decided to not find out the gender of the baby until it arrives, so it's keeping everyone guessing! Although we haven't fully agreed on baby names yet, there's one thing we do agree on: we're looking forward to meeting our little one in July.
There are lots of changes to come, but what's life without a little bump!? I've done so much since being pregnant (I was painting murals outside in November at 6 weeks pregnant, before I realised), so nothing can hold me back now - just negative thoughts/myself! Let the adventure begin...
The world of Freelancing is a bit of a mystery to most - it's very different to the 9-5 norm and the older generations don't really understand why anyone would want to leave a secure job. I've been doing my best to navigate life as a Freelancer since I was made redundant back in July 2016 - 2 years ago now, eek! Some people might think that I should be an expert on everything freelance by now, but it doesn't quite work like that. As with any job there's been a lot of mistakes, learning and adapting, and I still have more to learn as every day is different!
I don't have a boss (I am my boss ha) to talk me through a progress chat but I'm always looking to improve, and so I thought I'd share some of the 'mistakes' I've made. I think we shy away from admitting 'mistakes' in society, but for me it's an important part of growing and maybe it can help someone else out there too. It was also an excuse to create some motivational quote graphics too - a little something to pop in the portfolio ha
This is a weird one for me. I struggle with confidence every day but a lot of people perceive me to be a confident person, so let me explain. Confidence isn't a black & white thing - there are a lot of grey areas. In some ways I'm very confident, but when it comes to my work and abilities I have this annoying doubt cloud that questions whether I'm good enough. I go through highs and lows with this (I mean, I'm only human after all) - one week I'm super confident and the next I've got full impostor syndrome. An example of this: one of my contacts emailed me to say they love my vlogs and asked if I could produce something similar for their brand. They've already told me they like my work and that they know I'm capable, but my immediate thought was: 'Oh, I don't know if I can do it..'. Long story short, I had a word with myself, said yes and did the video. And I did it without any problems. The nature of being a freelancer means that you might be doing something you've never done before, so having confidence in yourself is really important. It's very common for creatives to struggle with this, especially females, but if you can't believe in yourself then why should anyone else?
This is linked to the lack of confidence I guess - how can I sell myself when I don't fully believe in myself? Which is silly, because I DO believe in myself, but I'm just rubbish at talking about myself or bigging my work up. To keep the work flowing, you need to be constantly reminding everyone of what you've done in the past, what you're working on now and what you want to work on in the future. Whether that is posting snippets on Instagram, updating your LinkedIn profile (which I'm really bad at) or sending a little catch up email to your contacts. Even though I feel like I bang on about being a creative person on Instagram all the time, I've recently discovered that some of my followers have no idea what I do day-to-day. I'm not shouting about it enough! What's the point of doing great work if you just keep it a secret!?
Ok, so I'm not great at self promo or thinking strategically, but I know someone that is! Last week my BFF Emma made me write a list of all the people I could contact to talk to about my work - either just to spread the word, to start a conversation or to pitch for work. I was actually really surprised at the long list I ended up with and 100% recommend doing this - look through your emails and Instagram followers if you are really stuck on where to start. These are people that you interact with everyday and want you to do well, so don't be afraid to pick their brains for contacts or opportunities! Just remember: don't be a dick.
I'm very good at making excuses - I have an excuse for everything. Remember at University when you needed a reason for everything, but sometimes you didn't have a reason and just made one up afterwards? Post rationalisation. It can be good, but it can also hold you back from progressing. You can always reassure yourself that 'it wasn't meant to be' or 'it wasn't right for you' or 'it was too pink'. STOP! It really has to stop if you want to grow/achieve! This isn't something that you can change by clicking your fingers, but small steps can help change your mindset. Sometimes there are reasons things just don't happen, but you'll never know if you keep coming up with excuses.
I guess this is linked to the self-promo fear: I've been waiting for things to come to me instead of going out and getting them. I've been waiting to be discovered amongst the millions of other people on the internet. I'm laughing at myself as I write this. What are the chances of being 'found', really? Who is even looking for me? I've been very lucky that 10 years of blogging has helped me in terms of having an online presence, but realistically it's not going to be enough! If you want something to happen, you have to go out there and make it happen. It's not going to be easy - you have to be ready for rejection and sending a lot of emails but receiving no replies, but once you get over the fear theres no stopping you. Send emails, set up meetings and generally shout about what you're doing because otherwise you're just sitting at your desk refreshing your inbox every 3 mins! Work on self initiated projects if you're lacking in work/something to shout about.
You know when people ask 'How are things?'. It's such a British thing but I don't like to burden people with my issues, so I'll just say 'Yeah it's fine' or 'Good, thanks'. Nobody likes a negative Nancy, but why did I feel the need to put on a big fake smile and pretend everything was going amazingly? Well, I guess that's the curse of social media. I go through ups and downs of being honest and real about life and then feeling like I have to be more #Instagramgoals. I'm only human, so I don't punish myself too much for being sucked into the social media blackhole but I do check myself regularly. One of the best ways to keep myself grounded is meeting with other freelancers - some good ol' human interaction! It's a simple thing, but just going for a coffee to chat about problems which I can't find the answer to on Google really helps me. Endlessly scrolling on Instagram isn't the answer - get out into the world!
I've listened to podcasts, read articles and been to talks about freelancing; taxes, running a business etc. I know some actual things of value! But will I listen to myself? No. I love helping other people, problem solving and discussions - that's just who I am. I've always been someone that isn't afraid to voice an opinion and rarely speechless, so I find it quite easy to give advice to others (although I'm not saying that I'm always right! ha). But I'm so guilty of ignoring my own advice. It's not until I really sit down and think about things that I realise I already knew the answer to my 'issue'. I enjoy a good chat with a friend - a problem shared is a problem halved, but I do need to learn to listen to and have more confidence in myself.
Balance is different for everyone, but essentially we're all human and need time away from work to rest and just live. Freelancers aren't magical beasts - they're humans too! There are so many benefits of being Freelance (more control, responsibility, satisfaction etc) but just because you're Freelance, doesn't mean that you should be working all of the time. At first you might need to work super hard to build yourself up, but as you get into more of a routine you should have similar (if not, more) freedoms like people with 9-5 jobs have including turning off your work emails, having weekends and holidays etc. After all, you don't get a badge for working all of the hours in the day!
Well, that was quite therapeutic! Admitting mistakes might be really hard for some people, but I'm not afraid to identify ways I've 'failed' and turn them into a positive. If you found yourself nodding along then I hope you found my musings helpful, and also just nice to know that you're not alone! Nobody is perfect, but lets put our best foot forward and try for Freelance success in 2019. The world is your oyster...
After sharing my Style Journey (how I introduced more colour into my wardrobe), I felt it was only fair to help get you guys started with some tips on how to style colour. I've scoured the internet for some of the best ways to get on board with colour, even during the misery of winter! Full disclosure: some of the links are affiliate links which means if you do decide to make a purchase I'll receive a small percentage (usually less than 10% so think of it as a tip). And anyway, you don't have to go out and buy a new wardrobe - the items I've included are just for inspiration, so get creative!
Dressing in colour isn't about asking for attention; it's about feeling good. Since I've welcomed more colour into my outfits I've felt a boost in my confidence and moods - I feel creative in a new way. Which reminds me, the #confidentlycolourful hashtag on Instagram is continuing to spread rainbow vibes! Feel free to join in alongside some of the internet's most colourful:
The Accessible Accessories
Let's start small because I know that being bold can be scary, but it doesn't have to be! I think the easiest way to introduce some colour into your wardrobe is via accessories. These are the statement items that you swap in and out to really make an outfit; jewellery (yay - statement earrings!!), bags and socks. Yes, don't forget about your socks!
Night Time Holiday | Julia de Klerk via Etsy | SuperMoon via Etsy
| Lual Boutique via Etsy | Baked by Lou via EtsyOliver Bonas | Happy Socks | Monki | Happy Socks | Topshop
I used to play it safe and buy all my accessories in black, but I pushed myself to buy a yellow bag last year and haven't looked back - I've got an orange one too! I've been really surprised by how much this addition has changed my attitude to my wardrobe - I've worn colour combinations that I never knew could work.
Pauls Boutique | H&M | Accessorize | River Island | Pauls Boutique
Autumn is creeping in at the moment, so we've got bright sunshine with a chilly breeze - the perfect weather for adding a pop of colour via seasonal accessories; sunglasses, scarves and hats. I bought some red circular sunglasses in the summer and am still loving them - I feel very cool when I wear them!
ASOS | Weekday via ASOS | ASOS | ASOS | ASOSPup Tart | Accessorize | Oliver Bonas | Topshop | H&MGap UK | Monki | Accessorize | New Look | Oliver Bonas
The Classic Stripe
I'm sure we all have a striped t-shirt somewhere in our wardrobe - it's a staple that you can't really go wrong with, eh? I'd put money on it being a classic Breton though - black/navy and white stripe. Am I right? Well next time you're buying a stripey item, be brave and opt for a coloured stripe as its a super easy and non-scary way to add a splash of colour to an outfit. It doesn't have to be a full rainbow stripe (although these are popular at the moment!), even trying a green/yellow/red and white stripe is a step in the right direction!
Monki | & Other Stories | Monki | & Other Stories | Monki
The Colour Block
One of the most intense ways to wear colour is to pair lots of colours together; I'm sure you've heard of colour blocking? It's bold, but it doesn't mean that you have to throw every colour you own into an outfit. I would stick to a couple of colours that either compliment or contrast each other - get your colour wheel out (or google it! ha). Think yellow and orange, orange and blue, green and pink - all great combinations
Co-ords and suits are a great way to rock a colour block.. Double denim lilac? No problem!
Marks & Spencer | Monki | Topshop | Monki | Marks & Spencer
Above I've created a little colour palette of pieces that could be mix and matched to create outfits - they're all bold colours but have an autumnal theme.
Talking of colour palettes; introducing this blue pleather jacket into my wardrobe was quite a turning point. I found myself creating a variety of outfit colour palettes using the jacket as the starting point, although I know a few ladies that build upwards from their shoe choice. Everyone's brain works differently!
If you're not too sure on mixing lots of block colours together, you can start with just one statement colour. One of my first bold colour buys was these cobalt blue trousers (below) but because they're such a bright blue I felt a bit scared to pair them with more colour. As you can see, I rocked them with
The Retro Rainbow
Colour is really having a moment, especially the Marmite of the fashion world - rainbow. Hate it or love it, you can't deny that it's a fun way to wear colour. Sometimes I say that I'm a walking talking rainbow, and in rainbow stripe I literally am!
Sugarhill Brighton | Monki | New Look | Oliver Bonas | Aesthetic Laundry
So, how are you going to be rocking colour? Are you a colour blocker or a statement earring fan? I can't wait to see more rainbows on the streets and hopefully on the #confidentlycolourful hashtag too!
At the start of the year I painted my first mural - a bright burst of colour inside my co-working space in Camden. I instantly caught the painting bug and wanted to work on more painting projects (and luckily had the opportunity with Hattie Stewart and recently as an artist in residence with West Elm), so when Jacqueline Colley posted a call out for some painting help on her Instagram I volunteered straight away.
Strike it lucky
Originally I was just going to lend Jacqueline a hand, but she kindly offered me the chance to paint my own mural piece alongside her and fellow Illustrator Aleesha. Jacqueline and Aleesha started painting on Friday but I couldn't make it to paint until Monday as I was in Margate. After seeing the ladies posting progress shots I knew I should follow their lead and join the theme of matches.
Armed with a circular placemat and some painting essentials (clingfilm and baby wipes ha) I headed to meet Jacqueline on Rivington Street in Shoreditch. When I arrived I was met by two new friends... a pool of vomit and Mr. Bunny. Who said being a street artist was glamourous? I said goodbye to the sick (I knew those baby wipes would come in handy) and Mr. Bunny - I've probably started some beef with a paste up artist now!? Soz. (Just to clarify - we had permission to paint here and Mr. Bunny didn't!)
Jacqueline had chosen a bright and fun colour palette (Lilac, yellow, coral and green) for us all to use - perfect to brighten up this dreary corner of Rivington Street in Shoreditch.
To continue the matches theme I decided to create a bold, graphic pattern of polka dots like those on the side of match boxes - the strike paper. I thought it was a good contrast to the ladies detailed illustrative styles, and naturally opted to use every colour from the palette! I used the circular place mat (that I'd brought from home) as a template to speed up the process and get some dot action underway...
Jacqueline set herself a challenge by drawing some beautiful detailed match boxes inspired by a collection from her travels in America, so it took her a couple of days in total to complete. I'm sure you'll agree it was worth the effort though as it looks amazing!
We've been enjoying some unusually warm weather for October - the sun was still shining, but unfortunately it was blocked by the tall buildings surrounding us. There was also quite a chilly breeze, and Jacqueline & I both agreed that our next murals should be indoor ones whilst enjoying some soup to keep us warm. Painting is always better with a team and I loved spending some time chatting about creativity with Jacqueline and Aleesha.
Three is a magic number
5 and a half hours later et voila: Mr. Bunny was transformed into a rainbow polka dot pattern!
I was even dressed to match with my white overalls, green striped top and pink converse! It felt so good to finish and see it all come together - I didn't get any paint on my overalls either.
Using the stencil for my dots definitely saved me a lot of time and gave me a consistent size which was great because I know that drawing it all freehand would've really stressed me out.
If you're in Shoreditch this week (23rd to 28th October) then pop by Rivington Street to hopefully see our mural! Place your bets on how long it will last untagged, eek! ha It's a street art-eat-street art world out there so the reality is that it won't last very long... but we had fun painting it and fingers crossed it'll be the first of many! Wanna hire us to paint a mural? Get in touch!!
Thanks to Global Street Art for the space, and again thanks to Jacqueline & Aleesha for letting me paint with them!
I've always loved colours, patterns and prints - in art, design and advertising. I guess that's one of the main reasons I was drawn to becoming a Graphic Designer - so much creativity, expression and fun! Which is so ironic, as the typical Graphic Design 'uniform' is to keep it very simple and wear all black. In recent years I've found myself rebelling against this stereotype and becoming #confidentlycolourful instead - celebrating my creative taste through style. P.S. Did I tell you that I'm shortlisted for Best Colour Inspiration in the Amara IBAs 2018? Woop!
(Wo)men in black
For most of my life I've dressed in black. Black jeans. Black boots. Black jacket. Black bag. I'd throw in a patterned top or dress once in a while, but the foundation of my wardrobe was simple: black.
2015 Natasha: 50 shades of black for a Graphic Design exhibition private view.
2016 Natasha: An all black, with a dash of khaki and leopard print outfit.
Dressing head to toe in black is classic; it's cool, chic and effortless. It's fail-safe and regarded as a smart, expensive look. If you have a wardrobe full of black clothes you can wake up in the morning and put any 2 items on and it will just work. But when it comes to colour, there has to be a bit more thought behind it.
Playing it safe
Growing up in the 90s, all of the photos show me as a kid dressed in colour and prints - thanks Mum. Thinking about it, most of our childhood is spent in drab school uniforms, usually black, grey or navy, so it's kinda weird that when given the freedom to choose our own clothing we would play it safe. I would expect rebellion? I guess this is a defence mechanism of sorts - we don't want to stand out too much amongst our peers, we just want to fit in.
2014 Natasha: Monochrome wardrobe, monochrome poses
As a teen (13) to a young adult (21), I think I had terrible fashion style, or lack of. I went through the Myspace phase, the Indie phase and the I don't have a clue phase. I could blame it on living a sheltered life in a small town with one high street clothing option (good ol' New Look) but for someone who spent her Primary school years claiming that she wanted to be a fashion designer; I just didn't put a lot of effort in. As I became a child of the internet, I admired fashion trends from afar but my budget didn't allow much experimentation. And that's why black was always such a great option.
For most of my life I have played it safe - if there was a black or red version of a top, I'd always pick the black version. A yellow bag? Oh no! That won't go with everything - it's much more cost effective to buy the black version. It's only the past 2 years where I've really started to express my love of colour through fashion.
Changing my opinion
I used to think there was something cheap about colour; that it looked tacky and weird. But in recent years, maybe as I've become a bit more confident with my taste, my view point has changed. Now I see colour as something quite luxurious and special. Growing up I was so far away from Fashion Designers, Fashion Week and Designer Trends etc. It was unobtainable and unrealistic for me, a small town girl. Since moving to London it's hard to escape, especially asa blogger. I'm typically an East London kinda gal but I walked through 'the Designer district' (New Bond Street in Mayfair) last year and discovered that Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Hermes and Kenzo were all repping bold, colourful collections. For the first time, I was thinking with my eyes instead of my bank balance.
Back to reality...I didn't splash out on anything designer. But it did open my mind to trying colour on the high street! As with every scary thing, I dipped my toes in gently - a multicoloured scarf, a blue pleather jacket, red chelsea boots. I started by introducing colour into my wardrobe staples and taking small risks which could transform my outfits from plain lazy to a cool look.
The blue pleather jacket from Zara was a great introductory piece, as it adds an edge even if the rest of your outfit is quite simple e.g. white t-shirt and jeans. Last Autumn I took it with me on a trip to Bristol as part of a capsule wardrobe, and paired it with a purple pleated skirt and a dark blue pleather skirt. Yep, I rocked a full blue pleather outfit - I'd never have attempted this before the blue jacket came into my life!
2017 Natasha: Working blue in Bristol
Fast forward to summer 2018 in Margate, I was feeling my most confident and built an outfit based around a pretty loud pink and yellow leopard print top from Topshop. I paired it with pink shorts, yellow earrings and yellow pencil socks poking out from white converse trainers.
2018 Natasha: Category is... walking, talking Battenberg!
Get the London look
London has a reputation for being the fashion capital of cool - rock and roll, a bit edgy and daring. There are definitely lots of different style crowds in London, but most days if you look up from your phone (whilst also avoiding eye contact with everyone in the tube carriage!), the everyday Londoner is wearing head-to-toe black. Last year I added a bright orange coat to my wardrobe and I found myself sticking out like a carrot juice amongst a sea of black coffees.
Honestly, the looks were a little unsettling at first but then a girl on the Northern Line complimented my outfit - woo! Such a great feeling! You can't deny, we all enjoy a compliment or, in this social media focused age, likes. One thing that Instagram has taught me is that even though people might not have the confidence to dress in colour/ they wouldn't wear a rainbow themselves, they still appreciate it. Maybe that's just because I look and feel happy in my colourful clothes, and they're just enjoying my energy? I don't really know. But one things for sure - a splash of colour draws attention in a monochrome world.
All eyes were on me when I wore this lilac double denim look to take some photos outside a tube station in North East London. Although it might be a bit too sugary for some people, this outfit and wall combo is one of my most liked Instagram posts! It's a similar story with rainbow stripes at the moment - people can't get enough.
Don't get me wrong, I still have days where I want to dress in black and I'll always love a monochrome stripe, but life's too short to not wear a yellow bag with cobalt blue trousers! I'm strutting the streets in all kinds of outfits that I never thought I would rock and I'm doing all with a smile.
I'm glad that I'm reaching a point in my life where I feel confident enough to experiement with style choices that make me happy. I hope I'll be like Iris Apfel when I'm an old lady - that's style goals right there!
But until then, to celebrate and document colourful style experiments, I've teamed up with fellow rainbow fan @JaidePoppy to create an Instagram hashtag: #confidentlycolourful. Already we've had lots of amazingly colourful people join in, which makes me smile:
The #confidentlycolourful crew so far includes: @imbeingerica - @emmajanepalin - @captaincharleyy - @iamkristabel - @gem_morson - @ginger.pickle - @kzienie - @bex.bell - @jaidepoppy
If you're a colour lover, I hope you'll join in with our hashtag? And if you're not confident in colour yet I hope you'll be inspired and build up your confidence to join in soon. I've got some blog posts planned to share ways that anyone can work colourful pieces into your wardrobe, so look out for those!
Crack out that colour and wear it with confidence!
I've been visiting London Design Festival for a few years now and admiring all of the exhibitions, installations and events with a hint of jealousy; I wanted to be involved, but I didn't know how. Little did I know it, but 2018 was going to be different from my usual LDF experience! When the team at homeware brand West Elm said that they liked my mural and asked if I'd like to be an artist in residence in-store for LDF, it was as if everything had clicked into place. I said yes, of course!
I packed some paint, rollers and wood and headed to the White City store in Westfield for 2 days of painting, chatting to customers and pretty much living the dream... woo!
On the first day I was coming down the escalator when I spotted a sign at the front of the store with my face on it - it was pretty surreal and made things feel a bit more legit. And of course I needed a photo next to it! My white painting overalls looked a bit out of place in the shopping centre, but it's all part of the look isn't it?
Artist in Residence
West Elm had commissioned an artist in residence for each of their UK stores - ceramicist Rebecca Harker in Tottenham Court Road, painter Carne Griff in Kingston and yours truly in White City at Westfield. Our work is all very different but amazing in it's own right and I was honoured to be picked for the opportunity - my LDF debut as a designer!
Whilst creating our pieces in-store, West Elm customers could watch and enter to win the finished pieces. I had my fingers crossed for a colour loving shopper to give my bold, graphic-inspired piece a new home!
Setting the mood
For my inspiration I looked at architecture, graphic design and some of the current season geometric inspired West Elm products. When I visited the store to see the space, I noticed a peachy/coral vase which I colour matched to some B&Q paint (Mai Tai) and built a citrus-inspired colour palette by introducing the bright orange (Pumpkin) and a pink (Love Story).
Carrying 7.5 litres of paint home from B&Q was a work out and a half, blimey! I swear someone told me that it's illegal to carry paint on the tube, but Google couldn't answer and I just made sure that I didn't spill it everywhere... just imagine!
I think the last time I created a physical mood board was at University (nowadays I opt for Pinterest) but I wanted something visual for the shoppers to see. It was a nice change to get my scissors and glue out anyway - did you know that glue sticks can go mouldy?! No, me either until this project ha:
I think a lot of people expected me to do something with triangles but, whilst I was tempted, I wanted to try something different.
To paint my piece, I took it apart and spread the rings across the whole table - I think this confused a lot of people and made it hard for them to imagine the final piece, oops!
At the end of day 1, I nervously peeled my first round of tape off. I found a few leaks where I hadn't sealed the tape on the edges, but overall I was further along than I'd planned to be. This was a good position to be in as it meant that I could relax a bit for day two and fully enjoy the experience.
Making art and friends
If you've met me, you'll know that I love to talk. With a few years of practice schmoozing at blogging events and one of the best skills I've picked up is being able to make conversation with anyone. During the residency in-store I met some cool people - shoppers passing through, students and fellow creatives. I had a really lovely chat with Charlotte (@charstextiles), a fellow colour lover. On day 2 I was surprised by an internet friend, Jessica aka @PretentiousFringe. It was so lovely to see a familiar face - it really made my day!
I know paintbrushes are a standard tool for most artists but I prefer to use rollers - it gives me a smoother finish. Each colour had 4 coats of paint to achieve a flat, even finish and then I'd removed the tape and hope for the best!
With all coats completed and the paint dry, it was time to take the tape off for the big reveal. I was really nervous at this point! Luckily, the tape removal went to plan and the lines were straight and crisp. I was very happy with the finish:
Et voila: my 3D wall art piece. I can't wait to see it up on someone's wall! What do you think? Could you see it hanging in your pad - Bedroom? Hall way? Studio? Get in touch if you'd like to to create something for your home.
Thanks to West Elm for having me - it was a great experience and has given me some ideas for future projects! Watch this space...
Woohoo, it's my favourite week of the year - London Design Festival! London really pulls out all of the stops to celebrate design; I'm talking installations, experiences and events. For 2018 there are now more Design Districts than ever before, which is great news because it means every part of London can join in the design fun!
On Friday I was so happy to attend the LDF press tour for a first look at what 2018 has lined up - it was an early morning but worth it so I could share it with you guys, of course. So get your calendars at the ready because you're going to need to pencil in some of the coolest & must-see things for London Design Festival 2018:
Dazzle by Pentagram x 1418 at the V&A Museum
Prepare to be dazzled...
My favourite installation at the V&A this year has to be the Dazzle room by Pentagram and 14-18 NOW. You guys know I'm ALL about colour, but this one is an exception to my 'rules'. It's a monochrome explosion of patterned typography overlays in the style of the Dazzle camouflage used on battle ships in the First World War. When I visited on the tour, Dominic Lippa of Pentagram told us a bit about the project but if I'm honest I was a bit distracted lining up a shot for Instagram ha! I'm hoping to go back on a quiet day and experience the full force of the Dazzle without a big crowd of people.
Whilst you're at the V&A you should also pop to see 'MultiPly' by Waugh Thistleton Architects, 'Memory & Light' by Arvo Part and Arup in the Norfolk House Music Room, 'The Onion Farm' by Henrik Vibskov and 'The Art of Music in the Digital Age' by Beatie Wolfe.
London Design Biennale at Somerset House
The Biennale is back, and it's better than ever!
40 countries, cities and territories from around the world come together to inspire, challenge and entertain us in the name of design. The theme for 2018 is emotional states, so get ready to feel! My favourites include (from top to bottom) a Kiss in Budapest (Budapest), Flynn Talbot's rainbow light ring (Australia), amazing colours and tapestries (Guatemala), an immersive Indigo experience (India), scratch and sniff wallpaper!!!!!!! (Hong Kong) and a personal branding workshop complete with t-shirt printing (Puerto Rico).
You can spend hours just wandering Somerset House, talking to the exhibitors and delving into the reactions from every country. The LDB 2018 runs alongside LDF 2018 until 23rd September 2018 so there's still time to grab a ticket.
Natasha Nuttall x West Elm at Westfield, White City
Yep, that's me! I'm making my LDF debut as an artist in residence at West Elm in White City. I'm pretty excited about being in store for 2 days (Thursday 20th and Friday 21st Sept) and creating a piece of art - pop by between 1pm and 5pm to see me in action! And the best bit? You can win what I'm making! Stay tuned on the West Elm UK Instagram for more information.
A post shared by West Elm UK (@westelmuk) on Sep 17, 2018 at 1:35am PDT
Bankside Flags at Borough Market
Flying the flag for design in Bankside, 45 designers and artists have injected some colour in Jubilee Place at Borough Market. With flags by Supermundane, Morag Myerscough and Alan Kitching, it's a feast for the eyes! Bankside has a special place in my heart as I worked in the area for the first 3 years of living in London, and so I'm happy to see creativity shining through. The flags will be auctioned online after LDF so best save your pennies in preparation!
Bankside's overall theme for 2018 is typography, so you'll be pleased to hear that there's Type Tasting experiences with Sarah Hyndman, sign painting masterclasses with Better Letters as well as all of the usual ghost signs in and around Borough Market.
I think it was a one off (sadly), but I was lucky to take part in a pattern making workshop with Morag Myerscough last weekend. We started with a walk down Borough High Street, looking to the area's architectural shapes for inspiration before turning our sketches into patterns:
Photo by Bankside Design - Morag Myerscough with Emma Jane Palin & I.
Rumour has it that the streets of Southwark will (hopefully soon) be given a little colour injection, so watch this space (or should I say, the roads) for more information on that!
Alphabet by Kellenberger-White at Broadgate
Broadgate has definitely been put on the map in recent years with an injection of creativity, cool installations and collaborations. I'm sure you'll remember 2017's Villa Walala by Camille Walala and earlier this year Supermundane worked his magic on the area.
For 2018 Kellenberger White are giving us a spelling lesson, with their alphabet inspired chairs. I stayed in the area for a bit (whilst my phone charged! ha) and watched some kids have a great time moving the chairs around to spell their names. Overall it's a really fun idea, but I just WISH the chairs were double the size - that would've been a 10/10 for me!
Lois O'Hara at W.A. Green
I've been following Lois' painting adventures on Instagram for a while now and after the success of her recent project, the UK's 1st and only art Basketball court, I was excited to hear that her paintbrushes were coming to London. Most importantly, Lois is working with W.A Green; one of Shoreditch's most colourful gems, it's an interior dream and once you step in that shop you can't leave empty handed! Bring Lois and W.A. Green together and it's a dream team that can't be contained... so it's a good job that the streets of Shoreditch have welcomed some O'Hara magic onto their planters too!
Photos by W.A. Green via Instagram
Pinterest x The Conran Shop
I'll be honest, Chelsea isn't one of my usual haunts, but I always head to The Conran Shop Flagship during LDF because they always do something cool. This year they've teamed up with Pinterest to create something, well, you guessed it - Pinterest worthy! I haven't seen it in the flesh yet but I can't wait to get snap happy - just look at those 1600 life size pins!
Photo by The Conran Shop
design junction at the Barge House, OXO Tower
design junction doesn't open until Thursday, but I already know that it's going to be a highlight - it is EVERY YEAR!
For 2018 they have relocated to the OXO tower which is a cool venue and gives the opportunity for some different installations overlooking The Thames; I'm excited to see the rainbow vibes of 'Gateway to Inclusion' by Lisa White and François Dumas and 'Head Above Water' by Steuart Padwick. In terms of what to see indoors; you should have a cocktail at the beautiful Glenlivet bar by Bethan Gray, Katie Leamon for stationery, Dead Good for furniture, Moxon for home accessories, and MT Masking Tape because they usually do something Insta-worthy with their tapes.
Things that look worth a gamble
I thought I'd include a few other bits which look like they could be worth a visit, but I'm not 100% sure... so feedback is welcome!
- Architecture Illustrated by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios x Jelly (near Goodge Street)
- Arches by Town & Concrete at Ligne Rose Westend
- Colour Transfer by Liz West (Westway Viaduct near Paddington)
- The Paddington Central flip book garden by Studio Apetit (near Paddington)
Hope your calendar is looking as exciting as mine now? Let me know if you make it to any of my recommendations and/or find any of your own! Enjoy all of the London Design Festival fun and fingers crossed I'll bump into you at some point... at West Elm! *hint hint*