66 // Badass Because

Every day I look in the mirror, and literally every time I do I notice my flaws both inside and out. Not once in my memory have I looked and thought ‘I am a badass’ at my reflection. It’s the way of things though… to notice the bad instead of the good. I think it’s supposed to be some mad survival instinct that’s remained in such a way it’s giving everyone anxiety over trivial things like looking in the mirror.

I find it hard to take ownership of that word really. ‘Badass.’

It makes me think of Buffy or Beyonce. It doesn’t make me think of me. I’ve always seen myself as this strange mixture of adjectives such as boring, sensible, awkward, out of place, nerdy, driven, curious, weird and a bit of a bumbling oaf. I don’t mind being these things, I usually lean into them. But ‘Badass’ has certainly never made the shortlist of words I would use to describe myself. Yet, last week I found myself standing in Twitter London looking at a portrait of myself that said why I’m badass, feeling like I had probably taken the place of someone more deserving of the title…

The reason I was there was for the launch of Badass Because – an exhibition and campaign by Badass.Gal, a platform that was set up to feature a different girl from the creative industry every day of the year and launched on International Women’s Day 2018. I was lucky enough to be on the platform last year, and I have also been working on the Fearless Types project to raise money for them to put on events like this, that help and support women.

Anyway, this exhibition was to celebrate the completion of the first year of Badass.Gal, featuring around 45 of the amazing women who had been on their site, and their reasons for being badass. With Badass Because aiming to break the stigma surrounding self-promotion and to encourage more women to own their achievements… So my feelings of being an imposter are exactly why this is a thing and why it’s important.

I had to ask some friends to help me figure out what to say on my portrait because as mentioned I don’t really feel badass. So my wonderful friend Dan said the following: ‘We need to build on your amazing qualities. You put people at their ease. Right off the bat we have Loyalty. Royalty. Royal tea. Adventurous. Tenacious. Humorous, undeterred by challenge or obstacle. Your rhymes are flavourful. Barrier breaker, carpe diem opportunity taker, freedom instigator. You’ve got the power to lift a heart and make it better. You infect us with your will to create, you gotta a fire in you spirit that will never abate. Peace.’ and of course – a section of this made it into the exhibition.

And being able to see myself through someone else’s eyes I can finally start to feel a little bit badass myself. So here is why I’m badass, in my own words – I work my ass off. I genuinely care. I take opportunities and I run with them despite feeling like I am totally winging it. I am loyal, I am curious and willing to bring on the adventures. I am ridiculously patient and pretty unwavering. I take risks but because I’m sensible they’re always measured. I have sisu, and I have a quiet determination to keep going and never give up. I will never let myself let other people down, and I also won’t compromise who I am for others. I know I am flawed and I am human and I use this understanding of myself to be better at my job, and be a better person. Fear of failure doesn’t stop me from trying, which is why I am setting up my own studio. Ultimately the thing that keeps me going is that I believe in myself and my vision and that makes me unstoppable. That makes me badass.

And if you feel like you aren’t badass, think again. See yourself through someone else’s eyes and don’t dismiss those positives as being false. Own your inner badass and let them out to play.

All the images here are from the Badass Because Exhibition, and you can see all of the portraits and more detail about the project over at badass.gal.

Thank you to Danny Pallett and Charlotte Hugh for starting Badass.Gal, and for pulling together this exhibition. Marc Hayden was the incredible photographer who shot well over 40 women in a single day, making each and every one of them look amazing – despite being 4 days into having a newborn. And Beki Reilly was the illustrator who brought every single statement to life across each photograph.

65 // Time To Look Back

Every year I reflect on what’s happened. I actually really enjoy it. I’ve spent the last few days writing this post – looking through photos and while I know for part of the year I felt quite low, looking back I’m amazed at how much I did, how much I loved, there were so many special moments. I love reading back what’s happened across the years. Things change and it’s important to me to document this stuff, the good and the bad. I’m excited for 2019, and I hope you all have a wonderful year! Enjoy the read if you’re at all interested.

2018: WHAT WAS THE SINGLE BEST THING THAT HAPPENED THIS PAST YEAR?

Over the past two years I’ve not felt very much like me because there have been a few things going on and this year I started feeling like I’m myself again, so that’s probably the single best thing, but I can think of a few events from the past year that rank very highly… When we finished our kitchen that was amazing – seeing the progress every day and it finally coming together. Also the brilliant weather we had over the summer was pretty special. Going in a hot air balloon after so long. Seeing my brother get married and introducing a new baby nephew in the last month with all my family in one place. Releasing the Fearless Types project into the wild and seeing it make some dollar for badass.gal. I am equally grateful for all of these things.

WHAT WAS THE SINGLE MOST CHALLENGING THING THAT HAPPENED?

Facing some tough conversations with Mikee about our relationship to the point we felt we might break up, but those conversations led to us working things through and we’re in a much better place ending the year than where we started. My friends also had their own things going on for the majority of this year, and overall I’ve felt a lot lonelier than I have in others while I’ve been going through that process with Mikee which was difficult. I spent at least six months daydreaming about moving to another country and starting from scratch as I felt there would be very little keeping me in London if we had broken up. But we got through, I’ve communicated with people. Things are good.

I’ve also felt quite frustrated with some aspects of my work this year which is making me contemplate my future a lot at the moment – it’s nothing crazy and I still absolutely adore making things – but what I do has been something I’ve felt so sure about since I can remember, so feeling a bit unsteady on that front is weird. We’ll see how this plays out.

WHAT WAS AN UNEXPECTED JOY THIS PAST YEAR?

Two things – Scotland with Dan & Nicola, and Theo being born. Neither of those ideas existed at the start of the year.

WHAT WAS AN UNEXPECTED OBSTACLE?

Feeling lonely. I usually like being alone – I recharge energy from it. But feeling lonely was a different thing, I haven’t felt that since 2012 and it’s definitely a kick up the bum to build some different friendships. 

PICK THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE THIS PAST YEAR.

Do it Yourself. 

WHAT WAS THE BEST THING YOU READ THIS YEAR?

Oooh. That was either the Dark Materials trilogy, I should have read that many years ago but I didn’t, and it was good. Ooooor This Is Going To Hurt – I read that one in a day while I was poorly and couldn’t put the book down. 

WHO WERE YOUR MOST VALUABLE RELATIONSHIPS WITH?

Hmm personally the people that come to mind as the most present are Mikee, Juliette, Aleksandra, my family and Olly. 

Professionally I’ve made so many wonderful connections and I was extremely grateful to a lot of people who came and helped out on our badass.gal project – I called in an awful lot of favours from people I know and even people I don’t and that project breathed a lot of life back into me and taught me a lot of things. 

WHAT WERE YOUR FAVOURITE MOMENTS SPENT WITH YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY?

So many: Paris with my mum – visiting the Catacombs. Going in a hot air balloon with my brother. Meeting my new baby nephew Theo and having all the cuddles. Seeing my brother get married. Seeing my dad in person after two years. Seeing Foo Fighters with my brother. Scotland with Dan & Nicola. Exhibitions with my mum, Mikee, Audrey, Juliette, Alice, Aaron, Emma H and Emma S. Walks with amazing people. Brighton & Purezza with Emma H. Doing a small act that helped my mum give up smoking. Fondu with Juliette.  Going plant pot shopping and drinks for Cathy’s birthday. Star Wars VR with Juliette and Mark. Treating mum to a girly night complete with cheese snacks, a film and facemasks.

Working with Cathy on her 12 Months of Myself project. Harry Potter in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall with my sister-in-law. My counsin Santu visiting with his friend Elina. Working with Aoife, even though we’re currently in two different continents. The Reed family cook ups with ALL the food. Seeing Django Django, Little Comets and Ólafur Arnalds. Making perfumed candles with my mum in Paris. Birthday drinks at Be At One with all the lovely people, followed by drunkly eating the best 3am chip sandwich at home. Dinners, drinks and lunches with all the amazing people. Columbia Road with Mikee and shooting still life florals for a client. Crepes and tasty wine with Audrey. Going to see the Wes Anderson Isle of Dogs Exhibition with Mikee and Piggy. Walks in Greenwich park, and meeting all the local doggies. 3D Burn and getting to know people in class. Ikea trips with Mikee. Fun By Sarah workshop with Emma A. Seeing Antonia move into her new home and welcoming her to this side of the river – nice to have more catch ups. Welcoming Aaron back to London. Learning to Lindy hop with Mikee. Ikea with mum and Mikee and the crazy chaos that was April and all the kitchen happenings – help from mum, help from Rupert and Stella. The Queen’s Garden Party with my mum – masquerading as fancy folk for a day. Daytime adventures in central with Mikee post therapy. Bucket BBQ picnics out on the walkway. Eurovision – watching across three parts of the world. Winning an award with Olly for our work. Making dinner for people. Meeting everyones babies. Going to a Michael Beirut talk with Olly which was incredible. Doing work with Olly and taking on the world.

Using my camera to shoot more portraits – including of Emma. Dinner at Emma S’s with Jenny and celebrating both their birthdays later on. Being surprised by Dan after a trip to the dentists. Getting to know Penny better. Madam Tussauds & by.Chloe with my family. Vegan afternoon tea with Swedish Emma. Going on a pedal boat in Hyde Park, visiting the design museum, getting sunburned and eating tasty food with Emma H. Meeting the guys from YCC and doing the Fearless Types project. Meeting amazing people to get advice. Seeing Dave off to Canada from Brighton. Citadel with Mikee. Going to the local pub for Pizza with Emma, Nathan and Will. Family dinner for Grandad’s 92nd birthday. Meeting Mikee’s reddit friends.

Secret Cinema with Mikee, Laura and co. Taking Mollie to Airbourne – we saw the red arrows, she swam in the sea, I read my book and we ate ice cream. Walthamstow day with Juliette – visiting the William Morris museum, eating delicious food and visiting Gods Own Junkyard. Creative challenges with Aleksandra and Juliette. Nice Korean dinner with Mikee to celebrate our anniversary. Everybody being amazing on the badass gal project with Grace kindly helping us find incredible people to shoot. Hang out time with Liam watching horror films. Seeing Cathy play. Walking in the People’s Vote March. Mikee’s mum’s 70th birthday. Visits to L’Emporio with Mikee and the lovely owner there. Juliette’s Halloween dinner. Sarah’s hen party and all the willy’s. Isabel’s cheese and wine party. Christmas with EVERYONE. Playing chess with Callum. Visiting the Tower of London with Dad and Debbie, followed by a feast at Dishoom. It’s been quite a year. 

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE COMPLIMENT THAT YOU RECEIVED THIS YEAR?

‘You is very beautiful, you is very tall’ – a teenage stranger on the street in Brick lane. 

IN WHAT WAYS DID YOU GROW EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY?

Physically – I hope I’m a little stronger than where I started as I’ve been exercising the whole year and also working out my nutrition so my iron levels, cholesterol, vitamin levels are all fine. I was shook when I compared a picture of myself halfway through this year to a photo of myself when I first went freelance and actually saw how obvious the difference was. I might start taking regular photos in 2019 to compare as I actually couldn’t believe what I saw and I want to be in my prime when we go to Mexico hah. 

Emotionally – I’m more conscious about drawing boundaries and more aware of tackling small problems to prevent them from becoming big problems. Mikee and I went through therapy together and we’ve learned a lot more about how we both approach life, and discovered things we weren’t aware of before about ourselves and our upbringings and both realise that not facing an issue in order to protect ourselves does just the opposite of protecting ourselves. 

WHAT WAS THE MOST ENJOYABLE PART OF YOUR WORK?

Doing the Fearless Types project and the small challenges I did this year. From the Fearless Types project I learned I love working with other people, to do good things for both them, and for a cause, and I like being a part of the process of making things happen on a bigger scale and helping make those decisions. Honestly working with Olly on this project I’ve felt like we can achieve anything if we put our minds to it. 

The personal work challenges have also reminded me about things I want to do, things I’m passionate about. The gratitude illustration project – I was really pleased with how some of those turned out in the way I used some simple ideas to represent things or just the way the images were constructed, I also felt like I developed a sort of style from working on that. I have started using my studio branding a little, which has also been really fun. I have also REALLY loved using my camera and shooting portraits, editing photos, editing videos with it – I even just ordered a new point and shoot so I can make more videos and have something on me whenever I venture out the house. I spent a month trying to come up with random ideas and solutions for world problems which have got some ideas whirring in my mind for future projects. And inktober reminded me how to draw and that drawing is something I quite enjoy the challenge of. 

WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF YOUR WORK?

Feeling frustrated with some aspects of my paying work. I want there to be harmony and a lot of projects went on too long, some were chaotic. I had to turn down a dream job. I also have had people not wanting to pay me when I’ve completed the work – which isn’t on. Others not replying etc etc. It’s not going to be perfect all the time, luckily I’m patient but these aspects have been very demotivating which has in turn made some work even more challenging. 

WHAT WAS YOUR SINGLE BIGGEST TIME WASTER IN YOUR LIFE THIS PAST YEAR?

Youtube. To the extent I’m thinking of how I can make it a non-time waster ;). 

WHAT WAS THE BEST WAY YOU USED YOUR TIME THIS PAST YEAR?

There are three ways. The month spent redoing the kitchen, such an achievement and it’s brought so much happiness to our home. Therapy – tough but worth it. Personal projects – reminding me why I like making. 

WHAT WAS BIGGEST THING YOU LEARNED THIS PAST YEAR?

To be a little more to the point. I think this year I need to learn to be a little less flexible as it’s meaning people are walking all over me time wise. More boundaries. 2

2019: WHAT DO YOU WANT THE OVERARCHING THEME FOR YOUR 2019 TO BE?

The beginning of a great decade – starting as I mean to go on.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT YEAR?

  • New York with Mikee for our anniversary – it’ll be half our lives together, gotta celebrate that.
  • Mexico for my birthday – bring on the beaches, Mayan ruins, jungle and sunshine. 
  • Seeing Emma and Rowan get married. 
  • Finally visiting Cornwall with my mum. 
  • Turning 30 and having learned how to do a handstand again, and standing on a moving skateboard… (basically achieving all my 30 before 30 items.)
  • Launching my studio and continuing on fun projects.
  • A girly weekend with my mum in Bath.
  • A new creative challenge. 
  • Maybe visiting Germany if I can swing it. 

WHO DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH IN 2019?

The people who I didn’t get to spend enough time with this year. 

WHICH PERSONAL QUALITY DO YOU WANT TO DEVELOP OR STRENGTHEN?

I want to refine my inner Neal Caffery (I’ve been watching White Collar recently).

WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE TO BE LIKE?

More focussed, more productive. 

WHICH HABITS DO YOU WANT TO CHANGE, CULTIVATE OR GET RID OF?

I see so many people with bright, brilliant, positive personalities who are absolutely warm and inviting, and would love to to channel more of that within myself. 

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE CAREER-WISE?

Same as last year as I didn’t do it, however I now have a mentor and think I can achieve it easier with that back up – I want to set up my studio and level up my practice. I also think I had too much personally that I needed to work on this last year. 

HOW DO YOU WANT TO REMEMBER THE YEAR 2019 WHEN YOU LOOK BACK ON IT 10/20/50 YEARS FROM NOW?

A pivotal year. 

WHAT IS YOUR NUMBER ONE GOAL FOR 2019?

Happiness. Always happiness.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that 2019 brings you all the happiness and success you’re looking for.

64 // FEARLESS TYPES BY BADASS.GAL

Introducing Fearless Types by Badass.Gal. We are FINALLY launching next week with the first five amazing designs, all with the aim of raising money for the Young Creative Council to help do more things to empower more women and to champion equality in the creative industries.

The idea behind Fearless Types was to take sexist stereotypes and flip them. Women do this every single day, fearlessly pushing the boundaries of every industry and achieving the once impossible and we deserve to have some recognition of these feats. We own being bossy badass babes, we proudly use our emotional intelligence to get deeper into our work. It’s our right to state we are the best man for the job and to support each other by showing we believe a woman’s place is in the boardroom – because we should be in every room, on every level – 50% of the population doesn’t deserve to be left behind. And that’s what our collection of designs do – in t-shirt form. They celebrate the new era for women and call out to the next generation to be bolder, more fearless and ready to leave an even bigger mark. Together, we can rewrite these stereotypes forever.

Olly Cooper and myself have been working our butts off on this for months now and it’s sooo freaking cool to see it become a reality. What started as a spark has just grown. We crafted these lines, had endless discussions about what we should do and got Badass.Gal down to be involved. We managed to get some really incredible designers and illustrators to contribute phenomenal artwork, we’ve had support setting up the shop (thank you Haygarth), and some help from friends doing some custom coding (thank you Hussain). We were kindly offered Mum & Dad Studios to shoot in (thank you Billy and Jacko)… with a super talented group of stunning models who came and offered us their time – they absolutely smashed showing off the tees. We’ve had help from friends and colleagues putting together our press release and getting it out there. We’ve learned a hell of a lot and it’s been a proper labour of love, but mostly I am absolutely humbled by the amount of people who have been so kind as to offer their time and skills to help us make this a reality piece by piece, because they believe in its power to do some good as well.
We’ve had so much positive feedback, I genuinely can’t wait for these to go out and to see what it might grow into – and even more excited to see how this can help benefit the amazing women (and men) I’m surrounded by in this industry.
Sign up at shop.badass.gal if you want to be notified when we go live and to find out when anything else happens. And definitely go and nominate any badass ladies you know to be featured on badass.gal

 

YES I’M BOSSY. THAT’S HOW A BOSS ACTS. by Aleksandra Stanglewicz

Aleksandra decided to draw yellow poppies around her “bossy” quote as they represent wealth and success. The type is intentionally blocky, strong and masculine to show off the innate strength we have in all of us – but surrounded by the wild delicate beautiful illustrations it brings a level of femininity to the design showing the balance and bringing more meaning to the quote. The word ‘boss’ is highlighted to play on the meaning of the word boss in a modern context.

Modelled by Beth Willetts

 

MY FAVOURITE POSITION IS CEO by Meagan Bach

Meagan wanted to reinforce this project’s revolutionary topic with visual themes commonplace in the sexual realm, but, like the line itself, flip them headlong to provide an empowering alternative. Erotic neon signs and Sixties porn titles therefore provided the visual inspiration. By replacing the classic erotic symbols with strong iconography, an alternative perspective arises, one where the working girl is a respected creative powerhouse. Our CEO’s style, along with our typography, hail from the Sixties: a time of surging female dominance and sexual liberation. With this combination, the viewer may expect to see one thing but, upon closer inspection, gleans something else…

Modelled by Gabriella Natasha

 

THE BEST MAN FOR THE JOB IS THIS WOMAN by (me) Emilia Buggins

‘The best man for the job’ reminds me of something that might have been said in the 1950s while two men smoke pipes, shake hands and make a business deal – so I wanted to play on that era, rewrite our role models in a way and show a badass busy independent lady holding her own. I’ve referenced Barbara Kruger in the typography, and decided to add arrows leading upwards in the illustration to point to the wearer and to highlight ‘this woman’ so it again points out the wearer in a subtle way.

Modelled by Grace Upshall

 

A WOMAN’S PLACE IS IN THE BOARDROOM by Jennifer Hayashi

Jennifer used her signature quirky illustrative style with the typography flowing around the illustrated characters to highlight a diverse range of women. Showing that no matter your skin colour, sexuality or background – women of all types deserve to be in the boardroom and throughout every level no matter the company, for fair representation.

Modelled by Catherine Okada

 

YES, I’M EMOTIONAL. THE BEST IDEAS ARE. by Olivia Boutrou

The sentence Olivia was given was about emotions being something powerful, rather than a weakness. So she thought she would use a very powerful female figure who had the characteristic of being strongly associated with emotions. The Queen of Hearts is the perfect emblem of this emotional power. Olivia brilliantly drew the Queen of Hearts and represented her as a creative person, using her emotional power to find ideas and use them in many different creative disciplines.

Modelled by Shirann Rose

63 // Beautiful & Rugged

The best of plans come from adventurous thinking. Seeing as I’m doing my 30 before 30, I asked a friend if there was anything they’d like to do before they turned 30 themselves. This friend is Dan, and he’s one of my closest pals. His response: Drive through the Highlands… Next, picture the scene: I’m sitting at home on my sofa, it’s 2am, I have a voucher from Christmas for Canopy & Stars that needs using before the end of the year. I come across a listing for The Ferry Waiting Room – a former waiting room converted into a sleeping area with a little cabin for cooking. It sleeps four, dogs are welcome. It has a brilliant view, and is in the Highlands. An idea starts to form.

I ask Dan. He’s in. I ask Mikee. He’s in. Dan asks me to ask his wife Nicola, because it’ll be ‘less crazy’ coming from me. I ask her. She’s in. And where me and Mikee go, so goes Piggy. The stars aligned timing wise, so we made a rough plan and we booked for 3 nights. He would achieve his goal just days before his birthday.

Along comes the 7th of Sept. All of us make our individual ways to Sussex. On the 8th I have my grandads 92nd birthday & they have a wedding to attend. 9pm rolls around and Dan & Nicola show up at my mums and our adventure begins – a 3 hour journey to Birmingham by car which goes much faster than the 2 hour journey’s to London in my mums car.

On the 9th we make our way from Birmingham to our destination – Monachyle Mhor on Loch Voil. It takes us 7hours, we make two stops, and play the question game. I discover lots of things about my lovely friends. The drive gets more and more lovely the further north we get. We check in, and the lady in reception shows us where our bathroom is, leads us though the woods in heavy rain to our weird little cabin, gives us the keys and bids us goodbye.

We have arrived.

We spend the evening with the boys making multiple fires and since the Hotel had a dinner Michelin Star menu costing £65 per person (I’m sure it’s worth it but we’re not loaded) we ate our car snacks – a feast of crisps, bbq fired camembert, bread, babybels and chocolate biscuits. I had a stonking cold, and we were all pretty tired from the journey so we all went to sleep after each having a creepy journey walk the pitch black woods to go and use the bathroom in the hotel. At least it wasn’t an outhouse ha.

With two full days to fill, Dan had the best knowledge and ideas and so we followed his lead. On day one we went to Mhor Bread in Callander, just missing breakfast but everyone got to try pies and I had a tasty soup. And then we decided to drive to Loch Lomond and go on a ferry ride. The ferry was very informative. Loch Lomond is the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain, I believe they said there used to be an illegal whisky making operation on one of the islands in the loch. We spotted an Osprey nest as we went around and they also have wallaby’s living on one of the islands.

We drove back, trying to find a place to pick up ingredients to make soup. We found a tiny Londis, the only shop for miles around – we picked up potatoes, onion, mushrooms, broccoli, cream cheese, garlic, carrot and stock and somehow Mikee managed to cook us the best possible meal from our Londis which we paired with an awesome cheese and jalapeno sourdough loaf which we managed to cook on the log burner in our little kitchen.

I had ordered Dan a cake to celebrate the last few days of his 20’s and sort of have an early celebration of his birthday, and I picked it up from the hotel and it was one of the best cakes I’ve ever had. A chocolate orange cake with candied orange, chocolate crumb and crushed pistachio on top. The look on his face when I gave it to him was the best.

We decided to head to the hotels living room for some comfort, in our pyjamas so we could easily get ready for bed, and watched Stranger Than Fiction – hogging the room to ourselves.

The second day we had some promising weather in the morning so after breakfast of leftover soup we decided to drive to Glen Coe, an hour and a half away further up into the Highlands. The mountains started getting bigger and as we got further north the weather started changing, in some spots there was lovely fluffy clouds and then was had misty drizzly rain, and the mountains started appearing out of nothing as we kept on driving. The landscapes were stunning. We stopped at The Boots Bar on the A82 and everyone enjoyed a good lunch. One of the barmaids gave us some tips – told us to avoid Fort William, recommended Oban, and told us if we had to chance to drive up to Morar to see the Silver Sands where there’s a white beach and turquoise water, and to go further up the road even though she said it was a bit of a hair raising drive.

As the weather was a bit pants and the drive to and from places would already be pretty long, we decided to go to Oban. Nicola and I bought some lovely bubble bath from the Highland Soap Company (the honeysuckle smells delightful). And we stopped briefly in the Distillery but left as they weren’t dog friendly. I picked up some violet gin from a bottle shop, the guys grabbed fish and chips and we made a booking for dinner at Mhor 84 which was just down the road from where we were staying. It’s owned by the same family as Monachyle Mhor but much more affordable. After a long drive back we all had a brilliant dinner there, then it was rather late and so the beds were calling.

In the morning we all packed up, got ready and checked out. We made friends with some of the resident dogs – Rose, Betty and a black lab. They all followed us across a field where we went to take pictures before we left. With Rose photobombing a lot of our pictures. After dancing like a bunch of idiots because I wanted to make a silly travel video (above) we went and got breakfast (from Mhor84 again) and it was really good. The environment there was really nice as well so it was nice to go back. It was Dan’s actual birthday the day we drove back, so it was a good way to welcome in the new decade. And Nicola drove us all the way back to Birmingham while Dan and Piggy slept in the back of the car. And with that, our Rugged & Beautiful adventure ended, I’ll be going back with my mum.

62 // Walthamstow Day Trip

At the start of September I went on a day out to Walthamstow with my beautiful friend Juliette. Even though Walthamstow is in London it’s so far for both of us, we made a day of it.

When we got there we were both super hungry so we went to Eat17, which had really good reviews on Google and it was 100% worth going. Juliette had tagliatelle and I had avo toast with poached eggs because I’m a millennial. They gave us drinks with bamboo straws which were AWESOME. We got some cake and donuts when we left because they looked delightful.

When we left we had a little look in some of the shops in Walthamstow village and went for a walk to see if we could find fabric, but we had places to go and things to see… firstly – the William Morris museum. Set here because he was born in Walthamstow and spent most of his life in the area doing arty and activisty type things. We got to see his old paintings, prints, textiles, all sorts – well worth the visit if you end up in the hood. We sat outside after, chatting and enjoyed our cake in the sunshine.

Next up we made our way to God’s Own Junkyard, wandering through a graveyard and coming across a tudor house. One of the gravestones gave me an idea – how awesome would it be to be buried in a bathtub?

Anyway, I had heard about God’s Own Junkyard around 5 years ago, and have never visited. So it was amazing to finally get there: So many lights, crammed full of neon it was everything I could have wanted – apart from their camera policy. You’re allowed to take photos on your phone but not on an slr, and while I respect that that’s what they want I don’t understand the logic? It all ends up the same… I just wanted to take some nice portraits of my friend. Never mind. We had fun, and when we left we stopped by Mother’s Ruin Gin company and enjoyed a little drink before making our way home.

61 // 30 Before 30 Update

4 Months down, 8 to go. This is how I’m doing with my 30 before 30: 3 Done, 14 Doing, 12 Need work on and 1 Failed but not completely. Not bad progress.

TRAVEL

  • Visit Sabine in Munich – DOING: Booking this soon.
  • Visit New York – This will have to just be booked for next year, I really want to go in September and we can’t go THIS coming September.
  • Girly weekend. – Need to work on this.
  • Go on a hike. – DOING: Going to Scotland with friends in September, we will do this then.
  • Last festival of my 20s. – DONE: We went to Citadel and it was fun. We are also going to Secret Cinema which I believe is going for a mini festival theme.

WORK

  • Launch Kireli. – DOING: I’ve been working away on this the last few weeks.
  • Start a retirement fund. – Help? Anyone?
  • Enter awards for work. – DONE: And we won an award! I will enter more as the year goes on.

  • Go to one exhibition a month. DOING: Have been to the RA 250th Summer Show, D&AD New Blood, Hope to Nope at the Design Museum, Isle of Dogs by Wes Anderson, Fred Butler at Now Gallery, the Central Saint Martins degree show, I’ve seen Michael Beirut from Pentagram talk, I’ve been to a talk at Pentagram as well, and we went to see Andreas Gursky at the Hayward Gallery and I’ve got so many more things planned.

  • Mentor someone & be mentored. – DOING: I am in a way helping a couple of people when I can with their work & careers; as much as I can anyway. I’ve also been on the hunt for a mentor and have spoken to some really incredible people in the process.
  • Learn about investing money. – I’ve yet to read my book… Will add it to the line up of reading material.
  • Make something to sell online for passive income. – I have some ideas as I reflect on this right now.
  • Self portrait challenge. – DOING: Need to do more.

  • Teach a class OR do a talk. – DOING: Talking to a friend about organising a talk at the moment.
  • Pitch for business. – Help? Anyone?

 

FOR FUN

  • Hot air balloon ride. – DOING: Need to book it.
  • Do a handstand again. – DOING: Have put handstand training in my bullet journal habit tracker and have successfully done it a few days in a row.
  • Learn to properly hula hoop. – DOING: I got a hula hoop and can almost keep it up (see video – please excuse me being ridiculous).

  • Cook 5 friends a 3 course meal from scratch. – Going to invite some people over soon.
  • Stand on a moving skateboard for longer than 10 seconds. – Have had a couple of people volunteer to teach me, just need to book in a date to do it.

 

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

  • Do up our flat. – DOING: Kitchen – Check. Need to crack on with the floor. We’ve had more expenses than we anticipated the last few months so other things are on hold.

  • Treat yourself regularly. – DOING: Have had three facials since I started this (post facial right pic below). I’ve also had a haircut (left pic below) and a massage from the lovely Spirited Away Massage.

  • Read 5 books minimum. DONE!: I have read Catcher in the Rye, The Handmaids Tale, the three books from His Dark Materials, Dark Matter – A Ghost Story. I’m on the Book of Dust at the moment, I have American Psycho lined up, and am showing no sign of stopping.

  • Figure out my style. DOING:
  • Make more videos. – I’ve filmed stuff but not proactively made a video. Need to think about how to build this one into the daily.
  • Blog once a week. – FAILED: Already failed this but I’m blogging more regularly which is a good thing.
  • Start learning to drive again.
  • Say yes to doing things. – DOING: Have been to vegan afternoon tea because a friend asked to go for her birthday, I’ve said yes to doing personal project challenges, yes to the Queen’s Garden Party, yes to going in a pedal boat, yes to going to therapy, I’ve been to see the Foo Fighters because my brother asked me, I said yes to joining in on the fun project with Olly, I was asked if I wanted to be featured on something so I said yes, I have been asked if I want to join something else and will say yes. Saying yes is good.

  • Pay it forward. – Still to do but it’s playing very much on my mind for how I want to approach Kireli.
  • Turn 30 somewhere really special. – Mikee and I spoke about maybe going to the Philippines for my birthday this last weekend, I can’t think of anything more special – especially for the year that marks us having known each other for half our lives.

 

60 // Gratitude

Earlier this year I started a bullet journal. It’s been really handy. I don’t really keep it decorative, I already have enough making to keep on top of in my day to day, but it means I can keep track of habits I want to keep on top of or build. I can keep track of my mood and see how I’m feeling about particular things. And recently Aleksandra Stanglewicz sent me this post from The Cut about happiness (which is something I’m a bit interested in – I even wrote my dissertation at university on it), and there was a suggestion to note down 5 things you’re grateful for every day to boost your overall wellbeing, so I put a gratitude section in my bullet journal and make sure to note down 5 things I’m grateful for every day. Most of it revolves around food, friends, nice weather and feeling fulfilled, I’m easy to please clearly.

Anyway, Aleksandra and I were talking a few weeks later and she suggested we set ourselves some personal projects to do in July and keep check on each other to keep each other accountable, and so we have someone rooting for us. I set mine to be to illustrate the things I’m grateful for in July, aiming to do roughly one every other day. I settled on a collage style, it’s generally something I’ve played with in the past, and I wanted to use this golden texture I’d found to show the thing that I was grateful for because it’s making my life more golden. It hasn’t worked out perfectly – I’ve had to play catch up, but I’m mostly on top of it. I can’t say I love all of them but that wasn’t the point here, the point was to just make something – even if it doesn’t end up perfect. Here’s what I’ve made over the month.  It’s been a really nice little challenge to do, I feel like I’ve found a style of illustration which sort of suits me along the process. I think I might do another challenge in August – I’ve been feeling a bit rusty with idea generation so I might set myself the task of coming up with creative solutions to problems every day, so I can just get the wheels of that part of my brain moving again.

59 // Fearless Types

This is so exciting! Olly Cooper and I have been working on an idea with the Young Creative Council for their badass.gal initiative to celebrate the fearless women in the creative industry by rewriting the stereotype. The aim is to empower the next generation of talent.

We got together a few fantastic creative ladies: Aleksandra Stanglewicz, Jennifer Hayashi, Olivia Boutrou, Meagan Bach and myself. And we all took our idea and made it look utterly incredible for D&AD New Blood where you could get postcards, posters and there was a sneak peek of some tee’s we were working on. The designs are absolutely killer, it’s all part of a bigger project in the works and there’s more to come which we can’t wait to share. Here are the designs so far…

And here is the sneak peek of the tee’s… honestly, can’t wait to share the full project, the amount of talented people we’ve had the pleasure of doing work with on this has been phenomenal. Watch this space.

58 // Dear 18 Year Old Me

 

I recently saw a post on Twitter by The Empowered Women Project about writing a letter to your 18 year old self. I thought it was a nice idea, so I wrote myself something and sent them my letter. I thought I’d share it here as well, just this version is a little longer. What would you say to your 18 year old self? 

 

Dear 18 year old me,

You’ve been through a lot and you have so much ahead of you, not all of it is easy, not all of it bad – you’ll have your heart broken in more ways than one but that will never stop you loving things with your whole being.
These are the things I’d want you to keep in mind:

You’ll change a lot but you fundamentally stay the same – you’re an idealist, your instincts are usually correct, you’re simultaneously an old person and a child at heart, you don’t like coffee, beer or coriander, you’re an optimist. You’re a bit odd and usually feel out of place – you’re an INFJ, find this out sooner – it’ll help you make sense of how you sit in the world. You’re a night person – it’s in your biology. Don’t feel guilty for not being a morning person.

You’ll do a job you love, but it’s only possible through hard graft and a lot of side hustling. Don’t expect things to fall into your lap – you need to make sure you’re seen and heard for others to know you want to do the things that you want to do.

That guy in Sainsbury’s, the one who is always smiling at you from across the tills – he’ll become one of your best friends. You meet him properly the day before he leaves for uni when you’re all a bit drunk. Keep it in mind to talk to happy drunk people more, you never know what connection you’ll make.

Always be kind. Don’t get taken advantage of.

Work hard, but don’t worry about what grade you get at uni – no one cares, or asks. Make sure to spend time making things you want to work on.

Do spontaneous trips, you never regret them and you create the best memories from them.

Don’t be afraid to demand support when you need it. Don’t let other people take emotional dumps onto you if you don’t want it. Remember you’re not responsible for their happiness, especially when you’re not doing so okay yourself.

Support your friends and family as much as humanly possible, empower the women around you, and make as many guy friends as you can, you’ll miss having them around. And on that note don’t feel bad for cutting off toxic relationships. It’s better for everyone – even if you miss the people. Boundaries are important to set. Don’t feel guilty for setting them.

Don’t always do the sensible thing. You’re a sensible person – any risk you consider will always be measured, so don’t be afraid of chasing something that might bring you happiness because you’re scared of an unknown outcome. Things work out.

Work in a bar. You’ll meet amazing people, it’ll keep you fit and teach you to not be a dick.

2012 will be awful. You’ll hate your first real job, the people aren’t nice. Your dog dies. Your best friend will move far away. It’s tough as hell, you’ll be depressed, you might even have think about ending it all. You make it through. Remind yourself when it gets bad, you’ll always make it through.

Look after your body more. Make it a priority. It’s the only home that’s truly yours, it’s important.

You’re so much tougher, funner and more versatile than people perceive of you at face value. You mask this side of you so well to protect yourself – which isn’t always a good thing. Don’t be afraid to let people see all of you more often, and allow yourself to be more excited and enthusiastic about things – it’s always uplifting to be around those kinds of people.

You always really like blunt people, even if you’re not sure about them to start with.

Witty banter, piano playing, creative thinking. You love these things but they are skills, keep them well oiled.

You’ll grow into adults with your best friends around you, and you’ll all succeed in different ways. Don’t get jealous of them, remind yourself you each have different definitions of success.

Read the Redditor’s ultimate guide to acne sooner. Spots are a bitch and having bad skin impacts your mental health more than you realise. Your pimples will be around for a long time but discovering that post is everything you need to get to a better place with your skin.

Be mindful of how judgemental you are over trivial things. Question yourself often, figure out why you feel the way you do about something. Push yourself to be better, but be mindful that you are always enough as you are.

Clouds weighing 500,000kg can float in the sky, we’ve visited the moon, we’re made of the same atoms as stars, you wouldn’t believe it but Donald Trump becomes the president of the US, and scientists have teleported a photon… Remember that if these seemingly impossible things can happen – you can manifest anything you want in your life.

Don’t dance in the shower when you’re sleepy and in a rush. This does not turn out well.

Enjoy the ride,

29 year old me.