My Dollhouse

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Introducing my new project: a dollhouse! As one of our wedding gifts, a friend of my Mum’s made us a dollhouse, from scratch. I am so impressed with his handiwork and excited about getting started on this new project. I’ve loved dollhouses for as long as I can remember, everything in miniature and creating a little world is something I love about them.

This is a project that I can take my time over, not rush and have patience with, which is something I need to practice! I plan on making a few rooms that we dream of having in our own home but do not, for example a lovely craft room, a man cave with a snooker table (for my husband of course), a cinema room, a library like the one from beauty and the beast and I even considered creating an ice themed room for Penguin but these are all just ideas at the moment.

I hope to keep you posted when I do work on it, I think the first job will be giving the outside a lick of paint, but what colour I wonder?

New Camera

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A couple of weeks ago, I bought a new toy!

I have been really lucky recently and received some money as a gift. It was partly to buy my wedding dress and as I had a little money left over, I wanted to buy something that I’d use for more than one day and would also be an investment, for my work and for my family. So I bought a posh new camera! Before now, I’ve been using my iPhone camera and trying to use my small compact camera more, however more often than not, I found that my iPhone camera was better than my compact camera.

I don’t know too much about cameras and photography, so after quite a lot of research and reading a lot of reviews, the Nikon D3300 seemed like the camera that was within my budget and was the best for a beginner like me. I’m still testing out all the different functions, settings and staying mostly in auto and letting the camera do the hard work until I know what I’m doing!

So this is me, frizzy hair and all, taking a test shot in the mirror. (I hate that the biggest mirror in our house is made up of 8 tiles, so I end up with lines through my mirror selfies! ahh!)  

I very much look forward to taking lots more photos in the near future and learning more about how this all works, I’m sure a lot of it will be shared with you here.

Six Years – A pep talk to myself

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Can you believe that six years have passed since I graduated? I can’t believe it has been that long certainly.

Recently I have had some doubts about my abilities, my skills, my direction and what I have learned in my time as a professional designer. However, through the magic of timehop, I can see photos posted of my graduate show at this time six years ago and I realise just how far I’ve come. I may not be perfect and I may not be the best but I certainly have improved a lot, I’m still learning every day and I definitely have a (slightly) better idea of which path I want to be on now compared to six years ago.

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Six years has felt like such a long time really which has gone so quickly, but it isn’t that long in the whole scheme of things. A child of six years old is only just starting school, they have already grown so much and have developed in so many different ways but they’re only just starting to learn in the formal educational sense. So if you see it like that, I’m only a young designer, I’ve already learnt so much but will only keep on learning and improving.

I have some big (for me) plans ahead so watch this space.

I want to remember – Wedding Edition

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Photo by Bruno Collins

I can’t believe this was taken three weeks ago! I have been Mrs. Shrimpton for three weeks, time has just flown by. We had the most amazing and magical day.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou

I want to remember the long deep breath I took with Mum before walking down the aisle, the relief I felt when Rob turned round and winked at me, I want to remember him saying “hello gorgeous” as we paused to sing the first hymn, I want to remember him holding my hand as I was shaking so much, I want to remember the sincerity with which we said our vows and the joy that I felt when singing “Shine Jesus Shine” when I knew that we were husband and wife and we could start to relax.

I also want to remember all the hundreds of congratulations and hundreds of kisses that we received that day and how beautiful I felt. I want to remember dancing with my Bridesmaids to songs by Hanson, and how funny that felt, at 28, dancing to songs we loved at aged 11 and still do. I want to remember dancing to Patt Benetar’s We Belong with Rhiannon, seeing Uncle Michael’s face light up when Slade came on, seeing my Grandma and Auntie Pat dancing on more than one occasion (I hope I can still boogey on down at 86 going on 26!) dancing to Come on Eileen with Auntie Eileen and one of my favourite moments of the night was dancing to New York New York with absolutely everyone around my new husband and I, this was when I realised that everyone we love was in the same room and dancing around us, after such an amazing day, I spun around pointing to them all and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier! I also want to remember the last dance, a song that is so lovely, which had earlier been read by Dawn in the church, it started and ended the day wonderfully and has been in my head for our whole honeymoon.

I tried to take the whole day in as much as I possibly could, I wanted to take a mental video of the whole day so that I remembered it forever! However, some memories will start to fade, I don’t remember much of the walk down the aisle for example, I was just too nervous!

As Maya Angelou said, people forget what you said and what you did but they never forget how you made them feel. And our family and friends all made me/us feel so loved and special on our wedding day, it was the most perfect day and I knew even before the wedding that we were going to struggle to find the words to thank everyone! Our families and friends have been so generous with their love, support, gifts and most importantly, time, that we don’t know where to start with thanking everyone.

We honeymooned in Mexico and it was absolute paradise, it was so relaxing and hot! It was a struggle, for the first few days, to just sit and do nothing. I read Amy Phoehler’s “Yes Please” and I’ve never read a whole book within ten days, more often than not, it takes me ten months! It was so nice to be away from it all but also to have wifi because so many of our family and friends were sharing photos from the wedding and it was lovely to see that everyone had such a good time.

We’ve been home just over a week, and it’s back to normal. We’ve unpacked most of the boxes, found homes for most of our gifts, I’ve even practiced a few new recipes in our new casserole dish! I hope to get back to blogging, I have a few exciting projects to share soon and I’m glad to have most of my weekends back after having them taken up by wedmin, table plans and shopping which, I’ll admit was lovely but it’s nice to have no plans every now and then.

I want to remember – Wedding planning edition

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I want to remember…

…the amount of fun that my favourite ladies and I had on my Hen weekend. We went to Glam Hatters for the afternoon, where we all made a fascinator and had afternoon tea. We then returned home for games, and a few girls stayed over. We watched Matilda the next morning with sausage sandwiches, all 5 of us 20-somethings recited every word!

…having our banns read at church. It’s been lovely to hear our names being read in church in preparation for our wedding. Even if I’m now called Sean or see-ann!

…the amount of gratitude that I have for all of my family and friends. They jump at the chance to help and I hope that I’d do the same for them!

…spending three hours “sorting” out the confetti. We had originally made our own confetti and had done a mixture of bright pink (attempting to be close to a coral colour) white, pale blue and pale pink. It looked lovely until I spilt some water on the bright pink tissue paper and although the website said “bleed resistant” it stained our wooden floor. My sister and I then did a test with the different colours of confetti and the bright pink stained a white piece of fabric as well as our fingers. So we spent a very valuable Saturday afternoon taking all of the bright pink confetti out of the mixture!

…making plans for after the wedding. Everything is going to be done in June. I think I have an unrealistic view that I will have a lot of time on my hands in June.

…eagerly, patiently, impatiently counting down the days. Some days I’m glad that it’s all 3 weeks away, some days I want it all to be right now!

…the nervousness, that I’ve felt over every single decision that has been made, I’ve wanted it to be just perfect.

…having lots of excited chats with my bridesmaids, about every little thing involved with the wedding.

…listening to our first dance song and getting butterflies.

…looking forward to marrying my best friend. I look forward to changing my name, being an official part of his family, him being an official part of mine and growing old together and all that involves.

We only have a few bits left to do for the wedding with just 3 weeks to go so I feel fairly organised. As you can probably tell, I’m really looking forward to it all, I am also looking forward to getting back to “normal” a little bit, to have our spare room back, not worrying about fitting into my dress, sketching of a Saturday morning instead of organising guest lists and spreadsheets! All in all, I’m really trying to relish this time, trying to absorb and appreciate every special moment, I’m looking forward to the future and am excited for a nice big party to celebrate love. (naaaw!)

Twenty-Eight

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On Wednesday last week, I celebrated my Twenty-eighth birthday. 28! When I said that out loud to a friend, I realised what an adult sounding number it was. I started work after University, when I was 22, and one of my colleagues was 28, she seemed to have it all figured out and had so much experience. I definitely don’t feel that way. I feel like I’m 19 still! (Does one ever not feel 19?) However, age is just a number so I’m ok with it!

My actual birthday was a regular day where I went to work, a few people wished me happy birthday and the whole office signed a card for me which was nice. I then returned home late, ate dinner and then my Mum, sister and Rob’s sister came round armed with presents and cards and my Mum brought a cake! It was quite a pleasant surprise in the end!

Tonight, Rob and I are going out for a posh dinner and tomorrow we’re going to my Mum’s for dinner with all of the family to celebrate 3 February birthdays, I’ve baked a carrot cake for it today and it smells so good!

My twenty-eighth year was a very anxious one, in the midst of planning a wedding, I felt like everything had to be perfect, not just with the wedding but everything in my life, which wasn’t helpful. I’m now really excited about the year ahead, the lead up to the wedding, and afterwards. I’ve chosen the word “Joy” for 2016 and I aim to live by that fully.

You may have also noticed some changes around here on this blog. My portfolio has taken centre stage, more projects to be added very soon, I have a new look and logo and I think it’s looking great! However please bear with me whilst I make some big changes around here.

The Future

2015 has been an interesting year for me so far, I’m not trying to saying it’s over just yet! There has been a lot of soul searching, a lot of thinking, quite a lot of action and small steps (hopefully) in the right direction.

One thing that has been on the back burner for all of this is this blog. I have kept up with my monthly goings on. And my hope has been to post when I can, sharing photos of work more than anything, which hasn’t exactly gone to plan. I’ve written about it many a time, promising more art work shared from me and less chatter, that hasn’t exactly gone to plan now has it? So, I have a new plan.

And now, let’s be clear, it hasn’t been an easy plan to make.

Firstly, I am no longer going to post on this blog. It isn’t working for me anymore. I was never going to be one of those bloggers who gets free stuff from companies to advertise or gets paid to promote products. I never wanted my blog to be that. It was always a diary, a place to start up a conversation, to document my goings on in the world, to share my work (sometimes!) and at times, I had a little rant.

Secondly, I’m not disappearing from the whole internet. I’m still going to be documenting my daily woes on twitter (although, I do hope I can post some positivity there, sometimes!) I’ve started up a new Instagram where it will be completely work focused, and I still have my old Instagram with my daily goings on, both of which post immediately to Flickr. The big projects will then go onto my Portfolio site.

I am fully aware that we are in an age that are permanently connected to our phones and devices, consuming information until there’s no tomorrow. I don’t want this to be me and I don’t want to spend any more time at my laptop than I have to. I don’t even see this as the end of my blog and the end of 7 years of posting, I see this as another step in a positive direction.

October 2015

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Goodness, October has been so busy! I have had so much on my mind that I probably have gone a little crazy! One day I forgot how old I was, am I 26, 27 or 28? I’m still not entirely sure. I lost track of what day it was and I pulled my house keys out of my bag, when I needed my train ticket to go through the ticket barriers.

I’ve made good progress on the recipe book for church, it was even mentioned on the Watford Observer website. It is very exciting to be involved in such a big project that will make such a difference to the community.

Rob and I went for a weekend away at a hotel, it was very much needed, we ate nice food, shared a bottle of wine, sat in a jacuzzi and talked about life (not all at the same time of course!). It was so nice to have a break from everything.

I visited my best friends from Uni, we spent a weekend shopping, drinking tea, chatting, laughing and dog walking. It was lovely to catch up on life with my Besties!

We celebrated a friend’s birthday, saw my sister in a dance show and caught up with another friend and her baby.

You’d think that this has been a month of just socialising but there has been a lot of work behind the scenes that I can’t talk about just yet and is the real reason why I’ve been going a little crazy. Hopefully all will become clear and I can let you know what I’ve been up to.

Very Good Lives

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I’ve always been told not to judge a book by it’s cover. Very often I break that rule, then read the blurb and if I think I’ll enjoy the book then I’ll go for it.

I wandered into Waterstones on a Friday lunchtime a few weeks ago because I had just finished Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks that morning and was on the hunt for a new book. Birdsong had been an emotional read so I wanted something light. I was originally on the look out for Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert but couldn’t see it anywhere. I did however come across Very Good Lives by JK Rowling.

I had seen someone reading this book, a few days before, on the train. Immediately, I loved the cover artwork and obviously recognised the author so I thought I’d give it a try. I do not regret my choice one bit. It only took me about 45 minutes to read, and I know already that I’ll read it another 100 times.

It is her commencement speech from the Harvard University Graduation in 2008 and is about failure and imagination. I know that I found this book at exactly the right time. I highly recommend it!

September 2015

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How is it October already? Seriously? I feel like I went to sleep in May and have just woken up and we’re less than 100 days until Christmas!

September started with lots of exciting celebrations for Rob’s 30th birthday! We went bowling with friends, then ate Chinese with 36 other family members (his family is that big!) some of my family came too and it was great to see everyone in the same room, a little preview of the wedding. I can’t believe he is 30, we have been together since he was 18, still a teenager! We had the following week off work and relaxed a bit, stayed with his sister for a few days, ate waffles, went shopping, bought a coffee machine, went to a chocolate festival, it was a really nice week off!

September was full of birthdays, we celebrated Rob’s Nan’s birthday a couple of weeks later. All of Rob’s cousins, Aunties and Uncles were there, it was nice to see everyone and celebrate together.

My sister was given a voucher for Afternoon tea as a gift for her birthday and invited me to come along. We’ve never really been on a sister date like that before, so it was nice to really catch up. We don’t see as much of each other now that I’ve moved out so it was really lovely, the mountains of cakes were yummy too!

Other exciting things were; going to try my wedding dress on again and decide some additional things about my outfit for the wedding, Rob and his sister had a Snowboarding lesson, and my Mum, sister and I all watched with chocolate fudge cake. I booked some of the final things for our wedding, we just have the DIY bits and pieces to do now, just the difficult bits. Some less exciting things included deciding to grow my hair and I became a little bit obsessed with coconut oil.

I have also been asked to work on a couple of logos and I’ve started work designing a recipe book for church, it’s all very exciting. A lot of my family members have also been asking what design the calendar will take on for 2016, I’m feeling the pressure to design calendars again and looking forward to it. I better get to work, October is turning out to be busier than September so wish me luck!