Monthly Archives: September 2011

Crafting Up a Storm

It’s T minus 8 days until we set off to London for the Renegade craft fair, the panic has started to set in a little… ‘what if I don’t take enough of X design?! I can’t just pop home for it!! gah!’, but I’m trying not to let it get to me.

We head down to London a week tomorrow, luckily we haven’t got the super early train like we usually get so we shouldn’t be wandering around like zombies. I have a PR meeting in the afternoon (how swish does that sound, eh? Yorkshire lass in the Big City having meetings with PR agencies) and then I forsee a visit to Wahaca in our future.

This week I’ve been designing a few new printed moleskines, but a supplier has had some difficulties so it looks like I’m not going to have as many as I wanted (annoying, but not the end of the world). I’ve also been prepping some screens for some Christmas cards, something I’ve never done before! I only have two designs at the moment but will hopefully add a couple more throughout October for the rest of this year’s fairs.

One thing that has been occupying my mind is the stall set-up. My regular displays just won’t cut it for something like Renegade! I’ve already invested in a new card rack, perfect for displaying greetings cards, moleskines and badge sets. I decided to make a string of bunting with ‘Finest Imaginary’ screen printed on, here’s a sneak peek…

Between my Dad and I we’ve devised the best method of setting this up on the day (it involves aluminium rods and clamps). Hoping it’ll go to plan, otherwise I can just string it along the front of the table?!

You’ll have noticed that there hasn’t been a recipe wednesday these past few weeks and that’s pretty much because I’ve been too busy to even consider concocting anything exciting – it’s been a noodles & vegetables kinda month. Don’t worry, though! I have a list of Autumnal & Christmas Gift recipes ready to start in the second week of October :)

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Adventures in PR

Since Finest Imaginary started being one of my main sources of income this summer I’ve had chance to look more into my business and investigate the best ways of making it grow. I’ve been more active in sending out email newsletters, creating more products, and tweaking my website to work better.

One of the things that I’ve also wanted to do is get more involved with the press, and get my products featured in publications, on websites etc. I’ve already experienced just how successful a product being featured in a paper can be, last year one of my necklaces was featured in The Metro’s Christmas gift guide. This all came about because of the PR company of a boutique that I sell my goods through.

So I guess it’s been on my list a while, get signed up with a PR firm. It’s a big step though, and a pricey one. I haven’t been in a position to do it before, but since I’ve noticed an increase in turnover from Finest Imaginary I decided to bite the bullet and experiment with the possibilities of PR.

A couple of weeks ago I started working with a PR company based in London, they’re going to produce press releases, help with calendars and do all the other good stuff that a PR company does. I’m really excited about it! I mean, let’s face it, I don’t have the links to the press that they have, nor do I have the time to create these links, and to have someone experienced work alongside me with something like this will be invaluable.

I’ll definitely keep you posted on how my PR experiences go, and hopefully it might help some of your decisions regarding PR.

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How to Grow Your Hair

When I was little, maybe 5 years old, my mum took me to the hair dressers and told them to give me what can only be described as a boy haircut. I’ve been scarred ever since. So I’ve been trying to grow my hair long for years now, I usually wuss out and end up getting a big chunk chopped off (never to the extent of the boy haircut that was surreptitiously thrust upon me!). This time I’m determined to have shiny mermaid length hair!!

Over the past 6 or so months I think I’ve added about 5-6inches of hair, and that’s with a few trims in between. For me that’s a good growth rate, I reckon it was about 3inches every 6 months before! I’ve definitely noticed it growing fast since I’ve started following a few hair growing tips, so I thought I’d share them here :) (pssst. I’ve highlighted the main points)

Use a good shampoo/conditioner to keep your hair in tip-top condition. I started using Tigi’s urban antidotes, they’re specifically formulated to help your hair gain strength without coating it with gunk. They’re quite reasonably priced, too, but if you can afford better (kerastase, for example) then definitely go for them! I buy the tigi bottles in large pump-bottle sizes from ebay, that way Adam can use them too and we don’t have (too) much clutter in the bathroom. I really think that a good shampoo makes so much difference!

How you wash your hair is also important. Don’t wash your hair in hot water, the colder the better (it’s all to do with how your hair cuticle sits after using hot water, cold water makes it ‘seal’ better)! I really wish I could follow this tip all the time, but I’m so guilty of rinsing in hot water most of the time :/

Use shampoo on the roots only and give yourself a root massage as you apply it to stimulate hair follicles, washing it out through the rest of your hair will clean that part without drying the ends. Apply conditioner to the lower parts of your hair only, avoiding the roots. These two things stop your hair getting greasy as fast, which means you don’t have to wash it as often. Once a month you can also do an oil treatment on your tips to control any dryness.

Try and use less hair products so that you don’t need to wash your hair as often. If you do use products keep them away from the roots of your hair. Extending the time between washes is great for your hair, it helps keep it from drying out, stops it breaking during it’s most fragile state when wet, and gives your scalp chance to rebalance. I’ve been trying to wash my hair every 3/4 days rather than my previous every other day, it gets tricky when you’re going to the gym and stuff, but up-dos and dry shampoo are your friend!

Using a wide-tooth comb when your hair is wet or damp is essential, your hair is ridiculously brittle when it’s wet! Using a wide-tooth comb to tease out knots rather than a brush will help any breakages. Alongside this, try not to brush your hair so much at all, it’s one of the worst things you can do to your hair… just look at the hair left behind on your brush, eek! I’ve been thinking of upgrading to a boar bristle brush but for now I’m pretty happy with my denman brush.

Don’t rub your hair with a towel, again this can break your weakened hair. Gently squeeze the water out with the towel rather than flipping your hair over and knotting it up while you’re rubbing it. I’ve been using a really good microfibre hair towel that I picked up at TK Maxx, I wrap it around my head and my hair is pretty dry after 10 minutes!

Lay off the heat styling. I know, it’s hard, I’m guilty of it too. If you can, though, stop blow drying your hair and let it dry naturally. It goes without saying that you hair will benefit SO much without the heat damage. If you need to use your hair irons then do so very sparingly, and make sure you’re using a decent pair (ceramic coated with no drag) and some heat protective spray.

Get regular trims to conquer split ends and stop them extending up the rest of the hair, this in turn helps control frizziness and also keeps your hair strong. If you have damaged hair then you need to chop it off, it’s worth it in the end!

Don’t get peroxide treatments, perms, or harsh dye jobs. If you’re going to dye your hair use a friendly, moisturising brand that’ll avoid much damage to the hair.

Be careful when using braided hair styles, these can pull your hair and break it! The same goes for hair bands, try and get hold of some ‘no snags’ style hair bands if you plan on putting your hair up.

It’s all pretty much common sense, treat your hair well and it’ll grow better! Keep a good diet, too, plenty fruit and vegetables go towards making your hair nice and shiny. Apparently we do all have a ‘terminal hair length’ though, which is when your hair follicle decides it’s knackered so lets go of the strand. Following the steps above should at least get you to that length!

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Photo Shoot

I’m SO excited to show you these photos! A couple of months ago my twitter pal Fanni approached me and asked if I’d like to do a little collaboration with her for a photoshoot of some of my jewellery. My new Navajo inspired range was in the early stages of creation so I thought it’d be a great to get some modelled photos of it!

Between holdups from me getting jewellery prepared, and a few downpours in London, the photos are finally here and they’re absolutely AMAZING!

Fanni is a designer and lifestyle photographer, and we both share a similar love of colour & simple aesthetic. The way she’s shot these images is perfect for the range, and from the moment she sent through the moodboard I knew this collaboration was going to be awesome.

I’ve never dealt with models, hair people or makeup artists before, so having someone there who has and who can take that pressure off is great. Hooray for collaborations!

PS. the photos are quite big because I didn’t want to make them smaller. Makes sense, right?


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How to Deal With Failure

When I started writing about this topic I didn’t know whether to classify it as ‘Working for Yourself’ or just a general post, because failure is something that needs to be dealt with at some point or another in all aspects of life, right? I ended up putting it here because I’m going mainly talking about it in respect to careers and business, but I guess the advice carries over.

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not lived at all. In which case, you’ve failed by default.
– J.K. Rowling

I have failed on numerous occasions in my life. From that time I didn’t get accepted to a certain college, to the time I got a D on my Chemistry AS Level. I’d like to say that these failures didn’t derail me, but then I’d be completely lying. As far as I can remember both of those incidents ended up with me in a tantrum like state, crying and wailing that I wasn’t good at ANYYYYTTTHINNNGGG EVVVEERRRRR. A-hem.

But then, after allowing myself time in my pit of doom, I’d pick myself up and figure out what I needed to do to fix the fails. I applied for another college, and I retook my Chemistry AS level exams and came out with a B at A level. These two incidents really stand out to me when I hit road bumps in my career, just because you fail once doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing if it does happen.

Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.
– C.S. Lewis

5 Things to do when you fail

Without trying to sound like a self-help book, these are the things that have worked for me in the past couple of years when things haven’t exactly gone to plan. I applied for a rather large craft fair a year or so ago and got rejected, it was a bit of a blow, but I didn’t let it put me off. I upped my game, got better at what I do, and this year I got accepted to an even BIGGER craft fair.

  1. One of the most important things you need to do when you fail is take stock of the situation. Why did you fail? Was there something you could’ve done to produce a better outcome? Was the failure completely beyond your control? Could you be better prepared next time?
    My recent trip to Liberty resulted in a fail that I couldn’t control, at least not at the time, and I learnt so much from that experience that the fail was totally worth while! Would I do it again even knowing that it wouldn’t come to anything? Of course!
  2. Get angry, get mad, get passionate you’re allowed, you know? You’re allowed to be mad that something didn’t work out, at least for a little while, because being mad will make you realise how much you really, REALLY want this thing. And how ridiculous would it be to not try again?
  3. Remember that you’re not a failure, you just haven’t found the successful way of doing something yet. You’re only a failure if you stop trying, and what’s the point in that?
  4. “Take a deep breath and count to 10”, “If it was easy everyone would be doing it”, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again”. Time to take note of all those things your Grandma used to say!
  5. Albert Einstein once said “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”, so be sane and make some changes. Use your failure as feedback & experience and come back with a better strategy.
The difference between being successful and never getting what you want is how you deal with failure. Use it as a catalyst to improve yourself, your business or your craft, not as an excuse to give up! Don’t look upon failure as a negative thing, failure is proof that you’re on your way to success. And after all, you’re not going to fail as hard as this guy…


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