Please find me at daniellewarman.com
See you there!
Please find me at daniellewarman.com
See you there!
As some of you may know, I got married over a week ago now (still can’t believe it’s happened), which is why I hadn’t really had the time to write any posts. I’ve been a massive stress head over the last few months, ironing out all the little details that needed to be done before the big day. Now that the planning and stress of it is behind me, I wanted to share with you the things that no one tells you when you are planning your wedding!
1. After you’ve gone through the trouble of designing your invites, putting them in lovely envelopes and handwriting each address, they’ll always be people who don’t RSVP leaving you to chase them. Like come on, I have enough to do. You would think if they don’t RSVP that it would mean a no, but you’ll be surprised that most of them will probably be a yes!
2. You’ll feel like that’s all you can talk about. To be fair, it’s a great conversation starter for people around you that wouldn’t normally talk to you. I found people at work that wouldn’t normally say much have lengthy conversations about weddings with me, everybody loves a wedding! But you’ll feel like your boring people, and you probably are.
3. You won’t even be able to think about your honeymoon. It’s like the Wedding Day is this big huge barrier that you can’t see past. I wanted to look forward to going away, but just couldn’t because it doesn’t feel like you are going away. We didn’t even pack our suitcase until an hour before we left for the airport (I’m one to pack like two weeks before we go away).
4. Everyone tells you that putting a table plan together will be hard, but you don’t realise how hard until you sit down to do it. Oh my god. The amount of times I wanted to just scream and say ‘EVERYONE CAN JUST SIT WHERE THEY WANT!’. It’s a nightmare. There are always people who you can’t sit together and it’s awkward as hell. It took me two whole weeks of sitting down, rearranging, going back to it. And then people drop out three weeks before, which brings me to my next point…
5. You’ll be enraged when somebody dares tell you three weeks before that they’ve had a better offer and will no longer be attending your wedding. You’ve finished your table plan, you’ve planned in how much it will cost for food including that person, you’ve made your place cards and printed your table plan. And then you have to change it all. I won’t lie, I did go into ‘Bridezilla’ mode over this one. (Illness doesn’t count by the way, I’m not a monster!).
6. You’ll have wedding stuff everywhere. Unless you have one of those package weddings where everything is done for you and you just have to choose. That obviously just wasn’t me, so I paid the price by having boxes upon boxes of paper flowers, napkins, paper plates etc piled up in our dining room. There are little things I bought last year that I planned to use on the day, that I know are in a box somewhere – (don’t move house half way through planning a wedding…), so I’ll still be finding wedding things after Christmas no doubt.
7. Planning a wedding isn’t a man’s domain, and from what I’ve heard from other couples, they don’t really get involved with the planning. They’ll nod and agree with whatever you suggest, which is kind of great because I didn’t have to argue or pout to get my own way, but they’ll be moments where you’ll just wish that they help. But I didn’t really want his help, because I wanted to do it all myself. Go figure.
8. It will feel so surreal. Well, it did for me anyway, maybe it was just me, but I felt like I was in such a daze the whole day. There is so much build up to one day, and then it’s all over. Quick as a flash, it’s over!
9. Your cheeks will hurt from all the smiling. But it’ll be worth it in the end, because pictures! I’m not kidding, it got to the point where I wasn’t even sure I was still smiling because my cheeks hurt that much.
I haven’t always loved Instagram, but I think the more I started using twitter more often (in the last year or so) the more I took notice of things on Instagram. The Instagram bar is set way high for creatives taking beautiful shots – mine is no where near to the standard, and I constantly get jealous!
But I spend many hours scrolling through endlessly at the feed in search for some creative eye candy – which is always fulfilled in one way or another. I love the amount of letterers there are – and that I can scroll through and get type envy every time I open the app up on my phone.
Here are some SERIOUS #InstagramGoals for you!
So I hope out of those you’ve discovered some new ‘type’ instagrammers you can follow! Do you follow any that are worth mentioning? I’d love to hear them!
Creative Cowell x
It’s true, I really have. It may be because my holiday has completely thrown me off (even though it was like 3 weeks? 4 weeks? ago now), the fact that my wedding is just under 8 weeks away, or I’m just in a bit of a creative funk. But I also didn’t do too well with my #100daysofampersands project.
My holiday was very enjoyable and relaxing, it was just what I needed. I did indeed go paragliding (no the photos aren’t photoshopped!), and some of you who actually know me I think were quite surprised that I did something like this! After our holiday last year in Vietnam, I’ve been telling myself I need to be more adventurous. And for me, it doesn’t get much more adventurous than that!
The most horrible part was probably the journey up the mountain in the mini-bus. I didn’t think we were going to make it. The driver was driving so fast round the bends, when there was a SHEER DROP OFF THE MOUNTAIN on the other side, it was crazy!
By the time we got to the top I felt so sick – but not with nerves! Just because the ride was so bumpy and I felt like I was being thrown about. Once we got out of the mini-bus, in not even 5 minutes my instructor was putting a harness on me and hooking me up to the sail. We had to run off the mountain – had I known this before I booked I probably wouldn’t had done it ha! But it was a literal run off the mountain, but as the wind caught the sail you didn’t drop at all, you just went up.
I had a brilliant guide, who even let me have a go with controlling the sail! The views of course, were incredible.
I can’t really describe it other than it felt like I was flying. To be so high up, with no sound of engines, it was actually quite peaceful. And to say that I actually felt quite relaxed when I was up there… honestly, once you were up, it was amazing!
But apart from that, I didn’t really get up to much else, which is just what we wanted. With so little time left until the wedding, I’m absolutely DIEING to share details on my blog, but I don’t want to spoil it for my guests so can’t actually post until afterwards (booo!). But they’ll be lots of colourful (spoiler alert) and handmade posts for how you can make your wedding look great whilst keep costs down!
Hope you all have a brilliant week!
Creative Cowell x
I didn’t do A-Levels so I didn’t get a results day as such with everyone else. I did a BTEC ND in Graphic Design at my local college, and from what I can remember, we didn’t have a ‘results day’ as such. In fact, it was nicer that way! We didn’t have a set day that we were going to receive our grades, so we weren’t waiting around for that day to come. And we were also told our grades by a sit down with our tutor, and not by opening an envelope!
So I hope those of you that did get your results yesterday, got what you were hoping for. But do you really need to go to University?
A lot has changed since I went (and I only graduated 3 years ago) – higher tuition fees, more spaces on courses – it always makes me think back to whether I would do it all again if I could go back. Usually, I say not if someone paid me. But. In reality, I would do it all again, because even though I really didn’t like most of it – I met friends for life. I had good times. I lived with my friends and course mates, had late nights where we made Irish coffees to keep us up working, laughed at the gnome in next doors garden (don’t ask), amongst other crazy delightful things.
It’s hard to say whether University would be the right decision for you. Why did I go to University? Because I wanted to be a Graphic Designer more than anything, and I couldn’t imagine getting a good enough job in the design industry without going. Which I think is right – I stand by that and I don’t think I would be in the job I am now without having gone. I also however craved independence. I’ve always been quite an independent person, and couldn’t wait to start ‘fending for myself’, which sounds rather odd when I say it out loud now.
If you want to know what to expect – expect late nights (from going out drinking), late nights (from working because you need to complete that project/assignment) and late nights (because you want to stay up late and watch movies and eat popcorn because you’ve been working hard all day). So yeah, late night. Oh and messy housemates, budgeting your money to make sure you can eat, washing your clothes…
Good luck if your off to University next month and congratulations! Before you know it you’ll be graduating…
Creative Cowell x
I haven’t posted in a while again have I?
I’ve had all these ideas for posts with no time to write them. Work has been really busy the last few weeks, and so has home life. We recently held the Community Awards at work, which I’m so glad to say that it was a success! Decorating the hall was like a little trial run for my wedding, which certainly opened my eyes up to how long it takes. It’ll defo be all hands on deck to help on the day!!
(Photos taken by Paul Tibbs)
I’ve also been busy trying to get our new home looking like our home. I think I’ve given up with this as it’s just a no go when you’re trying to coexist in the same house as your in-laws. I think I’ll be waiting until they leave officially!
So I wanted to do a quick post today really, as I’m going on holiday tomorrow and probably won’t be writing any posts. I’m not taking my laptop away with me this year, but if inspiration hits, I will have my tablet.
What’s in my suitcase you ask?
Yup, I’ll be laid by the pool, in my big hat, reading! Some much needed relaxation time. Because when I’m back it’ll only be 12 weeks until the wedding and I’m sure the panic will start to set in, seeing as there is still 1 million and 1 things I still need to do!
Creative Cowell x
I’ve had this post on my to-do list for quite a while now. And I suppose it follows on quite well from my last post – 10 things I’ve learnt as a Graphic Designer. I’m not really sure the point I’m trying to make with this post. Maybe that people expect too much from designers? Or maybe that all designers are different, with different backgrounds so we don’t all know how to do websites (because that’s web design people). Or maybe, just to make people aware that it happens.
Designers are expected to be able to do a lot more than just design. Which is fair enough is some respects. By lots of job ads now read that they want you to be proficient in web design, coding, marketing skills etc etc etc… the list is sometimes endless!
A lot of things that would normally be deemed ‘specialities’, are requested as a requirement, and to already know how to do all of them. Which is great for a senior designer with 8+ years experience. Not so much for us middle weight or junior designers.
I understand for in-house designers, companies feel the need to have one person for everything, and it is sometimes possible, but is it expecting too much? I think yes. A lot of places don’t understand that the basics are taught at Uni, and the rest we have to pretty much figure out ourselves. I’ve always wanted to learn how to do web design, as I think it’s something most Graphic Designers have learnt the basics in, but I just haven’t got round to it yet!
Over a year ago now when I was looking at design jobs here there and everywhere, most wanted to have someone that could do the design and the marketing. But most of those jobs that required that were around where I live, in Norfolk. I think businesses here feel they can’t afford to employ two people, so one person is expected to do both jobs!
This kind of happened to me in my previous role. I was enrolled onto a marketing course, my director making very clear that he was leading me down a pathway to further my career as a marketer AND a designer. He had big plans for me. At the time, I thought it was great – somebody was investing in me to learn more, and it would open up so many doors for me in the future. The reality was, unfortunately, I absolutely hated it. On top of this though, I was became an extra hand on the factory floor, operated the vinyl cutter amongst other random things. Which, with all due respect, I didn’t go to University for three years for. I’m not bitter at all, as I’m sure you can tell.
BUT anyway, I tried it. And I don’t regret doing that. If I hadn’t of tried, I wouldn’t know. I was quite surprised, because I quite liked the idea of knowing marketing strategies and linking it in with my design concepts. But to be honest, I found it all to be common sense. I was learning all this jargon marketing language just to pass the exams. Which I did, but with a lot of effort. So I passed the first year, and gritted my teeth to start the next one, but haven’t finished it. And I don’t think I ever will now. But I’d hate to think that because I didn’t get the bit of paper at the end that says I’m a fully trained Marketer, that it would affect me in the future.
But what can you do. Just your best, as always.
Creative Cowell x
Towards the end of this year, I’d have been in the industry as a Graphic Designer for three years. It doesn’t really seem possible. As most of you will know, I didn’t have a brilliant first step in my career, but it was a first step none-the-less.
Now in my second design job, I’m very happy.
Unlike others, I didn’t always know I wanted to be a Graphic Designer. Through school I took mostly creative subjects – but didn’t know what I wanted to do with it, just that I could see myself in a creative role. Being an Artist wasn’t an option for me. I’m too sensible and worry too much about the future, and never saw an Artist as an appropriate career path. I mean no disrespect to artists, it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t discover Graphic Design until a friend pointed out a course at a local college, and from there the chips began to fall into place.
At college I learnt the ins and outs of Adobe Illustrator, Indesign and Photoshop, and did some projects that I’d still be proud to show in my portfolio today. At University I discovered my love for typography and working with vectors. And also a passion for editorial design. I love love love designing magazine spreads. And I’m happy to say I get to do a little of that in my current position at Freebridge.
I think to mark this occasion of realising I’m a tiny bit wiser than I was three years ago, I’d like to share some lessons I have learnt since leaving University and having a full-time design job. Here it goes…
So there we have it. My 10 things I’ve learnt since being a graduate. I wonder what I’ll learn in the next 3 years? Is there anything you’ve learnt that I haven’t mentioned? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
Creative Cowell x
I know I’ve been a little quiet lately, on top of moving we also have no internet at the moment! So I’m writing this from a Costa, taking advantage of their free wifi and sipping a long deserved caramel latte, waiting for Adrian to finish work.
I’ve decided I’m not carrying on with my weekly roundup posts for #100daysofampersands, because frankly I find them boring so you probably do too. If you do want to check it out, here is a link to my #100DayProject!
So as you probably know I moved last weekend, (I’ve been banging on about it long enough!) and it all went pretty smoothly. I didn’t crash the van anyway, so that was good. Tomorrow I’m planning on venturing out with my camera and exploring. I’ve always lived in a town, so living in the countryside is a bit of an adjustment for me! It’s so quiet?! And dark. I mean, when it’s dark it’s dark. But I quite like that.
And also by moving we have gained a few animals. We have gained a couple of chickens and four guinea pigs, which I’m enjoying having a lot more than I thought I would!
Not much more to update you on I’m afraid, a pretty boring post but I think I needed to say hello! I hope wherever you are, the weather has been better than in Norfolk, it’s been horrid here!
P.s. I’m going to do a post about this in the future – but as I’m getting married later on in the year and changing my name, I don’t think it will be appropriate to be calling myself ‘Creative Cowell’. If you have any ideas of what I can rebrand my blog as – please leave a comment!
I decided to write this post as here where I work, we have a ‘Week of Wellbeing’ and it made me think of the things that I do to look after my own.
The answer lately, I suppose, is not a lot. I know – pretty bad of me. I think with so much organising going on at the moment (which I do enjoy) it’s making me a little bit reckless with making sure I spend time to slow down and enjoy myself and most importantly SWITCH OFF.
I’ve never been good at switching off. When I’m at home I’m still thinking about stuff that I have coming up at work, and when I’m at work I’m still thinking about stuff I need to do at home! I can never seem to just focus on one thing either. I flit between things, instead of focusing on one and getting it done.
So… ah yes, wellbeing. Freebridge do a ‘Week of Wellbeing’ where they put on lots of sessions throughout the week for employees to take part in. This year I’m taking part in knitting, an art class and a creative writing class! I’ve never tried knitting before, so I think I’m most looking forward to that one! I think it’s a brilliant thing that Freebridge does, to allow employees to take some time out and to focus on something other than work for a couple of hours.
I guess what I want to ask you is – how do you look after your wellbeing?
I have my knitting session today (I’ve never done it before!) so I’ll let you know how I get on!
Creative Cowell x
Yay the #100DayProject! Days 19 – 25.
So we are over a quarter of the way through the project now guys! I’m feeling like I can do this!
It’s been a busy few weeks, I’ve had quite a lot on at work with a number of things going on, but I’ve also had a lot on at home, which makes one quite stressed Dani!
As some of you know, I’m moving in a couple of weeks, and even though I seem to have known about it for a few months now, it’s crept up on me and I feel like I have NO time to do anything!
Me and Adrian have lived in our current house for two years now, and as it was a new house, we have been the first tenants to rent it. We always thought this was quite a good thing – but now it’s kind of made me realise how perfect everything needs to look when we move out! So next weekend I’m probably going to be a mess. No big deal.
Other than that, I am quite sad to leave. It was our first house together, and that will always mean something special to us. It’s the house we were in when we got Luna as a kitten, and then Solar 10 months later, it’s also the house we got engaged in! But I’m also excited to start the next adventure, living in a small village (which I’ve never done before, I’m a townie). We’d have gained chickens (don’t ask) and guinea pigs (seriously, don’t ask). The house pretty much backs onto a river bank, which scares me a little bit for my fear of open water. I feel like I’m going to wake up in cold sweats the first few weeks imagining tidal waves of water enveloping us. I know that won’t happen.
Anyway, onto this weeks roundup!
Day 19: Ampersand is a star in typography in my eyes!
Day 20: First attempt at brush script – what do you think?
Day 21: It’s been a while since I did any embossing – I took advantage of the gold + sunshine.
Day 22: I have so many times gone to throw these foam letters away, glad they have been a little useful.
Day 23: I really want to finish these decopache ampersands, so that I can add them to the rest of my collection!
Day 24: Milk bottles = totally ruined my healthy lunch by eating these afterwards…
Day 25: Most people don’t realise I have tattoos – I have had this ampersand on the back of my neck for around 5 years now!
Creative Cowell x
Yay the #100DayProject!
I’m on day 21 today and even though I’m still going, I did have a bit of a slip up at the weekend! I had a very good excuse though, I wasn’t very well most of Saturday, and I hadn’t got anything planned for it so doing this on Saturday night with no energy would have been far too much effort! I decided I just need to let it slide and catch up on Sunday.
But that doesn’t excuse this late post however! Last week ran away from me, and I was in a panic most of the week with lots to do at work, and also lots to do at home!
This weeks photos (just gone):
Day 12: Still on the cupcake run – I had enormous amounts of fun creating and decorating these, and then further fun laying them out to photograph for a different approach each time.
Day 13: This is the last cupcake I swear!!
Day 14: Have I mentioned I liked working with food?! I used strawberry laces for this – I just love how colourful you can be with sweets! I plan on doing a few more like this.
Day 15: Another one with sweets – teeth and lips this time. I quite like these minimal posts, but have made sure I mix them amongst more busier posts.
Day 16: Now that everyone has had there invites, I could finally post some pictures of my wedding invitations! And seeing as I designed them myself, why not include them with the ampersand?
Day 17: I’d had a bit of a bad day on day 17 – so the ampersand wasn’t created, but I still posted a photo! This ampersand charm was part of a Christmas present along with the bracelet and a couple of other charms from Adrian. He ordered the ampersand all the way from Sweden because they stopped doing them in this country – nice little story to go along with this!
Day 18: Quite a garish (that the right word?) post this time, with crispy M&M’s and one of my brightly coloured plastic chopping boards.
So that’s another week gone! And now over 20% of the way!
Creative Cowell x
*Drumroll please* I have my wedding invites done a dusted!
Well I have had them done for a while now to tell you the truth.
After reading this blog post, I decided that printing them etc was a no go for me. I didn’t want the stress of it! And it wasn’t that much more expensive to get them printed by an online company. They were brilliant, and to be honest it was worth paying them to do it rather than sit and faff with paper and a printer. I know it doesn’t sound like it would take that much time, but it would, and they also wouldn’t have looked as professional!
Designing them took me so long – it’s that whole ‘designing for yourself’ thing. I’m super critical of my work and it’s even worse if it’s something for myself. I felt a huge amount a pressure with designing these for my friends and family because they all know what I do for a living and I didn’t want them to think it looked bad!
But overall, I was really happy with them – what do you think?
With 5 and a half months left (eeeek!), I still have a lot to do. But I’m confident I’ll get it all done. My mum is being an absolute saint with making my flowers (which look amazing) and with making elements for centre pieces. So the fact I have a lot of help is keeping me calm I think!
It’s also hard to focus on a wedding when I have moving house coming up! If you have a choice, never do both in the same year, trust me….
Creative Cowell x
Yay the #100DayProject!
I’m on day 11 and I’m still going! I’m really enjoying it at the moment, but I think I’m enjoying the creations out of food a bit more than other materials, so I may steer more towards that.
This weeks photos:
Day 5: I used basic materials for this one – quite happy with the photo though.
Day 6: I had an outside shot planned for Day 6, but the weather turned a bit crappy so changed it! I think the shadow works quite well and is playful?
Day 7: This one turned out so much better than planned! I sprinkled oregano onto a chopping board, and then using a brush, I marked an ampersand into the herbs – I’m going to do more of this!
Day 8: So I was naughty and went to Mcdonald’s for my lunch as I was off work – fries anyone?
Day 9: So Day 9 marked my first year at Freebridge Community Housing – what a year it has been! Here is to the next 🙂
Day 10: Some more cupcake shots, as I decorated them all differently with different ampersands!
Day 11: Another cupcake anyone?
So far my weekend is pretty open, tonight I have a dinner to go to at the in-laws as it’s Adi’s Dad’s last night in Norfolk before moving to Scotland for his new job.
Tomorrow I plan on doing some more packing, as we only have 4 weekends to go!
What are you up to this weekend?
Creative Cowell x
Yay the #100DayProject!
I’ve managed to make it four days without giving up so far, which for me is pretty good! I’ve not posted anymore this week because I’ve been so focused on getting them out and looking at everyone else’s! I’m also going to aim at doing a roundup post every Friday, so this week’s is going to be a short one because of it only starting Tuesday!
Day 1: I loved doing this one with the icing on the biscuit! And yes I made them myself!
Day 2: I had a shot in mind when I thought about this one, I don’t think I quite got it, but part of this journey is to help with my photography skills.
Day 3: A bit of a space theme going on here with the silver foil and white backdrop. I think they’ll be some more space ones at some point!
Day 4: A simple on to finish the week, a nice simple sketch, with my favourite fluro implements in shot!
I hope you’ve liked my efforts so far, I can’t wait to keep going!
I hope you all have a good weekend! I’ll be spending it packing boxes, as we move in 5 weeks! And also I’m going to see Jungle Book for a treat. What are you up to?
Creative Cowell x
Next week I’m taking part in the #100DayProject!
Whenever I’ve started things like this, I’ve never really been able to keep it going (I know, terrible!) but I’m determined to keep this up. I think this time it will help picking a subject very close to my heart – Ampersands!
Ampersands have gotten ever popular beyond the design world in high street shops, so it’s not as hard as it used to be to purchase ampersand related things! The trouble is, as time goes on, I’m spending more money on all these lovely things!
My latest edition to the collection is this lovely light that I got from Primark – I only knew about it because of twitter – oh lovely helpful twitter!
My aim really is to just be creative with it – instead of finding ampersands around and taking a photo, I’m creating my ampersands by hand out of all different materials. Challenging? YES! But I do like a challenge, and I’ve already brainstormed a lot of ideas, so I’m confident I can do 100 variations.
I’m also hoping it improves my photography skills and makes my Instagram look prrrreeeettty! If you’d like to follow along, my hashtag I’ll be using is #100DaysOfHandmadeAmpersands 🙂
Are you taking part? Let me know the hashtag you’ll be using so I can follow!
Creative Cowell x
So last week I was quite lucky and had another 4 day week! Friday I was off to a craft event in London with my Mum, so booked the day off. It had been ages since we had a day out together, so I was really looking forward to it! We used to always spend a huge amount of time together, but now that I don’t live at home, life just gets in the way I guess.
Anyway, the craft show. To be honest we were both hugely disappointed. For a start of, it wasn’t very big, so we felt like we had gone all that way for not much! And secondly, the variety of stalls wasn’t at all impressive. So overall: disappointing. However, we were in London, so the day wasn’t totally wasted, and we went off to find what we could do with the rest of the day!
I’d asked a couple of people if they knew of anything going on in London at the moment, and as usually we had quite a lot to choose from! Is it me, or does time run a lot quicker in London? We took the Emirates Air Cable cars over the river to the O2, (which I’d never done – pretty cool!) and we got the tube into central London from there. By the time we got in it was already like 11.30am, so already half the day was gone! We decided to head for Oxford Street, so we got off at Piccadilly Circus to have a walk and do a bit of exploring.
We came across the M&M’s shop, and oh my god it was amazing! I never even knew this existed! I bought Adrian a present from there for doing so well with quitting smoking (it’s been 6 weeks now!).
And then I came across the biggest Primark I’d ever seen, so had to head straight to the home section, as I’d heard a little birdie on twitter mention Ampersand Lights… I’m going to save a picture of this for another time!
Then I got my Lush fix, where I got the urge to move to London just because of the size and variety of the shops – it’s not fair!
After some (very-unhealthy-lunch-but-I-deserved-it) lunch we headed to the British Library for the Alice and Wonderland exhibit. It was really interesting to see all the books from different eras and illustrators.
Anything Alice in wonderland appeals to me at the moment as it’s kind of the theme for little bits at our wedding!
That was my week last week pretty much – So anyway, onto the links!
1// After my last post, I’ve been looking at a lot of paper based projects and I am loving the duo Zim & Zou at the moment.
2// I’m planning on investing in some of these when I can – I think they’d look great on my bookshelf!
3// Really like the use of a spot colour on these magazine spreads.
Blog posts I’ve been reading:
1// I just love this post about a cat cafe in Melbourne, made me all warm and fuzzy! We need one of these in the UK! (via @Teegly_PP)
2// I’m making some of these as a trial run for biscuits at our wedding – they look great and simple to make! (via @)
3// The #100dayproject is starting next week, more on that later, but Natasha sums it up pretty well in her post here and shows off what she did last year! (via @natashanuttall)
Are you taking part in the #100dayproject? If so what are you doing?
Creative Cowell x
So a couple of months ago, I decided I wanted to do something special for Freebridge’s 10th Birthday. I’ve worked here for nearly a year now, and I wanted to use my creative skills to create something that could be used for events through the year.
I wanted to use my hands and actually make something, and I’m so lucky that in a role such as mine, these kinds of things are pretty much open (to budget restraints of course).
Recently, my mum invested in a crazy machine called the Cricut Explore. It’s basically a little machine that can cut things out, score lines for folds and write with pens. I know, pretty cool right? I decided that I wanted to borrow this little wonder and decided I would make something out of paper!
I started off with a few sketches, but I only really knew that I wanted it to be raised and 3D-like. After a couple of days with to-ing and fro-ing with ideas, I mocked up an image on Adobe Illustrator which looked something like this:
I created this in Illustrator so that I could then convert the shapes into the Cricut Design Space, to enable me to cut them. It took me quite a few attempts to get the initial size right, but once I worked that out, it was just a case of putting the paper on the cutting matt, loading the right design for the right coloured card and pressing cut!
First of all I did a test with some card I had lying around, and also on a smaller scale, to show the people in charge and make sure it got some approval before I went ahead to make the real thing. I was really glad how well it came across, and could not wait to make the real thing!
So next was finding some card that would be as close to the brand colours as possible – this was not easy. It also had to be 12 x 12 card, which made it even harder. I eventually found some however at papercutz online. They were brilliant and will definitely be using them again for future paper based projects!
I was so pleased with the final result – but instead of me banging on about it, why not look for yourself!
(Above) This was the final photograph – after a bit of photoshopping and getting the background right, this was used for the invites and any other material associated with the birthday.
I think this is my favourite photo (above) as it shows the sheen on the top pearlescent purple card, and shows the depth of the piece.
Overall, very pleased with this little project, hoping to do a lot more like it. Who knows, I may even do something similar for the impending wedding…?
Creative Cowell x
(Last three photos featured on this post were taken by photographer Paul Tibbs)
A couple of weeks ago, my lovely mum introduced me to an amazing machine. It’s called the Cricut Explore Air. It is amazing. Seriously. You can cut, write, emboss, and print with this thing. Yeah.
It took me until I saw it working, to understand how exactly it worked. It all sounded too good to be true. It basically works by having these sticky mats, which you stick your paper/card too (also cuts wood?!) and then it feeds into the machine and cuts or writes from the Cricut Design Space. I think the design space is the only thing I don’t like about the Cricut Explore Air. When I’m used to working with Adobe Illustrator, Design Space seems very limiting to what I can do. To be honest I don’t know the ins and outs of what it can do yet, but from the initial playing around, this was my first impression.
I borrowed the machine from my mum initially for a project I worked on for work (more in my next post!). It’s our 10th Birthday at Freebridge, and I wanted to do something a bit special with the design of the front cover of our tenant magazine, along with invitations. I’m so pleased with the overall look – but you’ll have to wait I’m afraid!
I still have a lot of learning to do – and to be honest I may even purchase one myself as it seems you can do quite a lot on one. I could make one off birthday cards, nets for boxes – the possibilities are endless. There is already a huge database of designs already on Design Space, some of which are free, others paid for. What do you think, is it worth the £260?
Creative Cowell x
I have about 6 posts in my draft queue in WordPress – have I been able to finish any of them?! NO! Even though I had the Easter bank holiday off work, I didn’t do hardly anything, although I think I needed it.
Lately it has been all about writing envelopes out for my wedding invitations, and thinking about starting to pack some boxes ready for the move. I know it’s early but that spare room could really do with a good sort out.
Not a lot has been going on really, I’ve very much just been plodding along with life the last few weeks. So without further-a-do, here are my links for this week, and finally a blog post!
1// I love a clean identity like this one, really makes me go ‘I wish I’d done that!’.
2// These are just beautiful. I’ve been planing on making my own little postcards – although there are 100’s of other things I’d like to do also…
3// I’m very much into patterns at the moment, so these really did please.
4// If there was ever such a sexy way to display your toilet rolls.
5// THIS. I need one of these lights in my life!
Blog posts I’ve been reading:
1// I came across this blog a while ago, this post about twitter blog chats has helped me discover some more other than #cbloggers, which I hope to take part in soon!
2// I need to take trip to Lush because of this post!
3// I’m very much stuck for ideas at the moment, so posts like these are really helpful!
I’ve never been a fan of Blog Lovin’ but I’ve been giving it more of a chance recently, so send me your link if you have one.
*// I’ve finally designed (and got printed!) my wedding invitations (paused for applause). I know, about time. I will be posting about this soon… but want to get most of them out before I do.
*// The other thing that I was working on for work that was top secret – nearly time for the big reveal!
Got anything interesting to share with me? Let me know in the comments below!
Creative Cowell x
That’s Luna in the mainframe there.
I cannot believe that it’s March. But worry not, I have finally ordered my wedding invites! I designed them myself but have chosen printed.com to print them for me, and then ordered coloured enveloped separately, so will let you know how that turns out! Been given a delivery date of this coming Monday, so I’m hoping to have invites start going out the following weekend, exciting!
A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks, so personally I think I’ve had to just have some time out. My parents-in-law-to-be have announced they will be moving to Scotland very soon, so that has come as a bit of a shock to Adrian (naturally), but with bad news comes good apparently. We will be moving into their house as of May this year (rent free!), so that we can start saving for a mortgage quicker. To be honest, this has been a complete godsend. It’s like a weight has been lifted, seriously. Anybody our age and on a relatively normal income will appreciate how hard it is to get on the housing ladder, and I just now feel so, so lucky.
Me and Adrian have been talking about having children for a while, and although we are not ready yet (won’t be happening yet people chill!) it’s always worried me that I will have to go back to work mega quickly, with no time with a new baby. But with the help of saving for a mortgage, we’ll also be able to save for maternity costs etc. It’ll be a few years yet, but those of you who know me, know I’m very organised and like to plan wayyyy in advance!
Couldn’t have a picture of Luna without Solar now could I, just wouldn’t be fair. He’s growing up so fast, he’ll be a year old in May!
So with moving house in May, going away in July, getting married in October – this year is beginning to fill up fast!
So with that bombshell, here are this weeks links!
I’ve not been very active in the blogging or social media world this week, so I don’t have anymore links for you. I seem to have been in my own little bubble…
I’d like some inspiration – what have you been looking at this week that’s made you go “wow!”? Let me know!
Creative Cowell x
So I’ve thought about starting a series on here (not necessarily weekly) where I share with you what I’ve been looking at, instagrammers I’ve loved, blogs I’ve been reading etc. And what I’ve generally been up to, that I wouldn’t want to write a whole post about. I see it as a way to post more even if I haven’t got a specific subject I want to talk about – which I have quite a few on the back burner at the moment surprisingly. The Private Life of a Girl’s ‘Week Notes’ inspired me to start it. I’m always looking at interesting links, but don’t really want to clog up twitter with links to things – so here it goes.
Blog posts I’ve been reading:
1// I’ve been thinking about my own domain for a while – so this post really helped.
2// I can’t pick one post – I just love this whole blog!
3// I’ve been trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle for a while, this is one of my favourite posts I found on the subject.
Favourites instagrammers at the moment:
I’m loving the colourful food pic accounts at the moment – they really are so beautiful! Doesn’t it just make you want to eat healthy so badly!?
Of course, I had to have an account in my favourites that features typography.
I know I featured her blog, but her instagram in beautiful too! I love the colourful, carefully directed shots. I wish I had as much dedication to my instagram account.
What have you been looking at this week? Let me know in the comments below!
Creative Cowell x
I haven’t been blogging – I know, I know, once I start not blogging it happens more and more, which I really don’t want to happen! I’ve been busy the last couple of weeks – and also been quite unwell. So juggling that, with work, and stuff I want to do outside work has proved more than challenging!
I’ve had a few weekends now where either me or the other half have been ill, so it’s not really been fun! Going back to work on a Monday morning after feeling like you haven’t had a break is probably one of the worst feelings ever… But luckily I was able to go back to work this morning nice and refreshed and ready to go!
Valentines day has now passed, something I’ve only been celebrating the last few years. I don’t go over the top as it is a money making business after all, but it’s nice to have an excuse to do something, be it go for a nice dinner or have a day out somewhere we wouldn’t normally go.
Mine and Adrian’s first Valentines together was in 2014, we decided to have a city break to Barcelona. We were both still living at home with our parents at the time, so having little spontaneous trips like this was possible! Not anymore I’m afraid…
Last year we had a somewhat ‘normal’ Valentines day – dinner and a movie! We went and had a day out in Norwich, watched Juniper Ascending (I think) and then had a nice meal at Chiquitos (we both love Mexican food). So what to do this year? We are both strapped for cash this year as we are both saving for the wedding, so have agreed nothing over the top.
This year, was pretty low key – but was still really nice. We bought each other a few gifts and then Adrian cooked me dinner. He cooked Paella (I helped a little bit!) and it was amazing, surprising seeing as neither of us had attempted it before. Gift wise, neither of us went too romantic. I got him an xbox game he’d had his eye on for a while, and a nice gimicky present – an acre of land on the moon, and bought a frame to frame the ‘Moon land deed’. Adrian bought me some chocolates and a new coat – but I felt terrible as I’d tried the coat on already in the shop and didn’t like it! I though about lying and telling him that I loved it, but what can I say, I’m an honest person. He took it back and I’m now on the scout for something else! Am I a bad fiance lol?
I hope you all enjoyed your day!
Creative Cowell x
Ahh I hate the word when it’s used in that context. But for some reason when I know I’m talking about the brand name LUSH, it doesn’t make me cringe.
I’d made my way through my sale haul last week and decided to order more! Sunday night Lush baths have become a little bit of a thing for me – I grew up in a house that only had a bath, so ended up hating them. When I moved in to a house with Adrian my number one priority was that it had to have a shower. Since then I never thought I would look back, but then I discovered LUSH bath bombs…
Some would say they are too expensive – but I really think it’s the quality of the product that you’re paying for. I’ve had cheapy alternatives before in the past and they just don’t cut it. Lush products just smell amazing, and I still can’t believe how much you can still smell the product on you a few hours after you’ve gotten out of the bath! I also love their ethos against animal testing and using good natural ingredients instead of harsh chemicals – so better for the environment too.
Anyway, happy Monday, I haven’t been well the last few days so even though there have been no blog posts, I have been planning and writing a few. I’ve felt a little off my game the last few weeks, but I hope this is the end now! Here are some great links that I’ve been looking at this weekend.
01. There aren’t many blogs that I trawl through old posts of – this one was a great find!
02. Discover and review new products – a lot of them free!
03. I definitely couldn’t give up social media…
04. These have given me a great idea to do something similar
05. This Instagram account makes me want to start clean eating!
06. Ideas for Valentines Day?
07. I’m going to try this – and I’ll let you know how I get on!
On another note, yesterday, my blog turned 7 years old. I’ve been blogging for 7 YEARS!
I think within the 7 years I haven’t exactly blogged constantly, it’s safe to say, but I’ve never really left it more than a few months before I posted something. I know I’ve gotten a lot better at it. I used to just blog for the sake of blogging I think – to get my College/ University work out there to see if anyone would comment on it (they never did). Now I take a little bit more care in my writing, and what I write about. I do it for me, because I want to write, not because I want loads of people to look at it (although it would be nice!). So no big thing of it – just a nice little milestone for me! A blogaversary?
Enjoy your week
Creative Cowell x
It’s the second week back to normal this week, and as usual I just feel like I have no time to get anything done. Does everybody get home from work, do a few things and then it’s suddenly 11pm? No? Just me? I have a big list of things relating to my blog, our wedding and other design goals that I really want to get started on, but I have no energy/motivation…
Is it because it’s January? I’ve seen a lot of blog posts lately about why January is such a rubbish month, and I have to say I usually disagree. January is probably the only month in the year that I feel on top of things. A new diary means new plans and goals, and I actually feel more motivated to get started. Don’t worry, I’m not going to spout any of that “New Year, New Me” crap. But this year, it’s just not working.
Like I said in my last post, I don’t do New Year Resolutions, because I simply just don’t stick to them, but I’ve set myself some blogging goals that you can read here. Okay, I guess I’m lying a little bit and do have one, but mainly because my fiancé is giving up smoking and he told me I had to have one. My only resolution is that I’m only allowed cake/dessert once a week. I was a bit of a cake monster in 2015, and it needs to change! With it coming into the third week of January I’m happy to say that I have succeeded so far; Adrian on the other hand has not. Although I won’t beat him down too much because he is still trying… and I’m sure what he is doing is a lot harder.
This post was meant to go out much earlier in the week, but the lack of photo was causing me not to post… silly really.
What do you think about January? Wanting it to be over yet? Let me know in the comments!
Creative Cowell x
Happy new year everyone! I hope everyone had fun seeing in the new year! We had a quiet one this year as we are still getting over our horrible cold’s, but for new years day we went over to my mum and dads for a lovely roast dinner. This weeks come hard getting back to normal, I’ve had a couple of long weekends and it makes me wish every weekend was like that!
I don’t do new years resolutions, because lets face it, who sticks to them?! With getting married this year (OH MY GOD IT’S THIS YEAR), my resolution should be going to the gym, but like I said, I’m probably not going to stick to that. A goal is something I can work towards, and when it comes to my blog, I’m always looking for ways I can improve it. I look at my blog at the moment and it honestly makes me happy, except the DESIGN of it. Being a graphic designer, I want to make it more creative looking, but I don’t have the wordpress expertise. I’m just not happy with the way my blog looks. I’m planning on having a total redesign, which is kind of exciting!
I’ve decided I’m going to go onto my own domain. Not only will it make the site look more professional, I want to create more of a brand for Creative Cowell and having wordpress.com tacked on the end makes that a bit of an issue. There are certain aspects of my blog I love, like the homepage slider, but I just hate how the page looks when you click on individual posts. So that will be the first thing that I will do! So here is my list.
Five simple things, I’m not setting myself too much here. I have a wedding to plan this year as well after all!
Creative Cowell x
At this time of year I reflect on what kind of year I’ve had and what I have learnt. It’s been a rollercoaster of a year – changing my job (for the better), starting our wedding plans and taking a trip of a lifetime to Vietnam.
This year I have learnt that if you are unhappy, you are pretty much the only one that can change it. In February last year, my Grandad had a house fire, and I naturally wanted to help and make sure that he was okay. My previous manager was extremely un-sympathetic and that was the last straw in putting up with my work life there. At the end of the day, family comes first no matter how loyal to your job you are. That was the turning point where I thought ‘You know what, I know I’m better than this place’ – and that NEVER happens. I’d been stuck in a rut there for a long time and I have no self-confidence when it comes to my work (it’s getting better!), but I knew that I couldn’t stay there. So that was the first thing I learnt. Just a shame that it took a disaster in the family to make me realise it.
And because of my new job, I’ve learnt that I’m not actually a bad designer, if I do say so myself. Okay, so I’m not living it up in an agency in London, designing the next John Lewis advertising campaign, but I’m happy, and at the moment that’s enough.
Apparently we learnt/discovered that one cat just wasn’t enough. Solar came into our little family in May, much to Luna’s dismay (at first) but now they are the best of friends.
In September we set a date and booked a venue for our Wedding in 2016 – and it was great because now it feels REAL and I know it’s going to happen! Can’t believe it’s this year… still designing invitations…
I learnt that ‘It’s too good to be true’ is absolute bollocks because I went on my free holiday that I won last year in October and it was brilliant. For mine an my fiance’s first proper holiday together, it weren’t half bad! And from this I will be carrying on doing my competitions! I’m aiming for a free honeymoon, who knows?
At the beginning of December I found my wedding dress – so that was another thing off the list!
So that was my year – how was yours?
Creative Cowell x
I hope everyone had a lovely christmas! I know I haven’t blogged in a couple of weeks, what can I say, Christmas is a busy time! I’m looking to get back into the swing of it pretty quickly though, starting with this post!
This year I took part in #goodygoodygiftswap, which you sing up to via the lovely website here. Once signed up, you are paired with somebody and are told a few things about them and where to send your gift. I got Cathy, from The Origami Boutique.
The only clues I got were that she is an origami artist, loves having inspirational quotes around the house, and loves making desserts. Oh, and her favourite colour is red! Enough about what I sent however, as this time I’m going to talk about what I received!
The packages arrived and inside everything was wrapped in some lovely maroon tissue paper.
A very cute little hand made origami star necklace
An adana postcard print – this was brilliant and made me smile! I wasn’t expecting anything like this but I think someone must have read some of my blog!
A compliments card that I can use
A handmade origami christmas decoration – which I love by the way
And also a little ‘merry & bright’ printed decoration, which I thought was brilliant. I love these decorations, although I daren’t put them on the tree incase they get mauled by two cats…
An ampersand – because everybody knows I adore them and collect them! This will add to my collection currently on my windowsill in my living room.
I also got some little stickers, little post-its in the shape of an elephant, chocolate, a Portuguese dessert recipe and an origami butterfly!
I felt totally spoilt and like Cathy actually knew me! It was a lovely thing to be a part of and I can’t wait to take part next year. I hope everyone had lovely christmas’s. Me and Adrian have been really ill over the holiday, and even had to take some time off before christmas break officially started, but are pleased to say we are feeling a lot better now!
Creative Cowell x
If any of you have cats like me, then you know the stresses that the Christmas tree brings! Felines love them (both of ours now love to climb it). Last christmas, Luna was only a kitten, so was small enough that she could get away with it. This year however, she’s quite a hefty cat. And we now have another one. Solar is still a kitten really (7 months), but strangely isn’t as interested as her! She sits and looks up at it very lovingly from the tv stand and then jumps on it.
As you can see the cats are never too far away from it. As you can see the branches have separated somewhat because they keep laying on them.
Anyway, we put our decorations up pretty early, Saturday 28th November to be precise! We had a look around the Bury St Edmunds Christmas market during the day with my mum and dad, got some christmas cheese and a funnel cake (if you’re not sure what they are you should look it up!). It was mega busy, which isn’t that fun when you’re trying to look at stuff, so unfortunately we didn’t stay long, but it did get us in the christmassy mood.
These last couple of weeks or so has been quite difficult for me to be cheerful, so anything like this has been good to get me out of my moodiness. Around this time a couple of years ago we lost my nan very suddenly, and it came as a massive shock to us all. This time of year is always quite difficult for me and my family now, as it’s times like christmas that you wish the most that they were here and notice it more that they are not. I just get very ‘I can’t be bothered’ with everything attitude, which is a terrible attitude to have, and it’s probably horrible to be around.
But yes, anyway, the christmas tree is up!
This Saturday just gone I ticked another wedding based item off of my list of things to do – I found a wedding dress! I’ve been a couple of times before plans were in motion to try dresses on, and never really found anything that I thought “Yeah that’s the one” – but this is definitely it! It was the first one I tried on and I kind of fell in love with it. I tried others on of cause just to make sure but every single dress I just said I liked the first one better! I’m obvs not going to put a picture on here, but I’m also starting to get somewhere with invitation designs, so watch this space!
I’m also well on the way to sending my creative exchange project packages out this week… a sneaky look at the packaging below!
Creative Cowell x
Another Christmassy post! So this year, it’s my first christmas at the housing association I work as a designer for. I got the lovely job of designing the christmas card that will be given out to all of the employees! I get quite excited when I get to do things like this, because there aren’t many things I get to do that are free reign, but having said that, having no brief can be quite tricky too. Also, I’ve never really posted about what I do at work, so I think this might be a nice little insight to that too.
I decided that I would try and do something hand drawn, and looked online for lots of inspiration before I started sketching some ideas out. I’ve always wanted to get really good at hand drawn typography and even give calligraphy a try, and I think doing this has motivated me to do some more because I’m rather chuffed with the outcome.
After lots of rubbing out, correcting, resizing letters etc, I had a final draft pencil drawing. This took me two days by the way… it’s just a good job I have the time at the moment!
I penned in the pencil drawing; this was the bit I was most scared of incase I went wrong and had to start again. Luckily that didn’t happen, and even if it did, I was planning on taking it into illustrator afterwards so any little wiggly bits could be smoothed out.
I used a Pilot V Sign Pen, which I think is my favourite pen now! I don’t really know much about what pens to use for this kind of thing so it was a bit of guess work on my part.
This is going to be pinned on my desk wall by the way, I’m so proud of it.
So, next I took it into Illustrator. It took me nearly another day just to smooth out the vectors using the select tool, and to also resize some of the thickness of the lines and the letters so that it was a bit more consistent.
…And then I used the 3D tool in illustrator – extrude and bevel. I don’t think I’ve used this since college, oops! I never had much luck with it and to be honest didn’t think i could remember what the controls were, but I think I did an alright job!
I then made up a background in photoshop and then wallahhhhh! I even learnt how to make little twinkly stars! Youtube is brilliant for little tutorials for photoshop!
What do you think? I have also realised this is the first creative thing, that I’ve created myself, to be posted on my blog for a long time. I really need to start doing more self-initiated projects.
Creative Cowell x
Time to blog about Christmas! As it’s the first of the month and all 🙂 I’ve got quite a few christmas posts planned so watch this space! I’m not however taking part properly in blogmas because I KNOW I can’t post everyday, no matter how hard I try it never happens!
I NEVER have a Christmas wish list – but this year I actually know a few things I want. Most of which will be too expensive for people to get for me, but hey ho the sales after Christmas are the next best thing (and I get paid the day before Christmas – win!).
I’ve thought about getting a Fitbit for ages – until I saw this – which I totally want instead. It can be worn as a bracelet or a necklace and tracks your breathing, sleep and activity. I’ve wanted something like this as I’ve started going to the gym to get a bit fitter (because I know I’m terribly unfit) and also to tone up a bit for the Wedding next year. Every time they come into stock they get sold within a day or two! I think that’s a good sign?
Ever since Tasha posted about her terrarium that she made in a workshop, I’ve been obsessed with having one. They’re great! I can just imagine it sitting on my coffee table, and plus the cats can’t stick their faces in it because of the lid.
Image from Urbanoutfitters.com
I’ve seen a lot of people get really creative with them – I want to create an overgrown city in mine, with little painted skyscrapers!
3. Tomb Raider Xbox One
I feel like this is a very ‘not me’ present, and feel a little weird asking for it. It’s no secret that I like to use Adrian’s Xbox now and again, but I’ve never really gone out and bought (or asked for) a game for just me. The last Tomb Raider came out while I was at Uni, and one of my mates bought it for there Playstation and I completed it in like 3 days. Cause like, it was that good, and who does work at Uni. I’m thinking a few days wasted over Christmas playing this game wouldn’t be a bad thing.
4. Audi R8 Experience
This is something I’ve always wanted to do! I’m a little bit of a car fan, and an Audi R8 is my dream car. I’m never going to be able to get one (I know that, and if I had the money for one it would go on more important things!) so wishing for an experience in one is a little more doable. Memories last a lifetime after all.
Every year without fail I get about 100 new notebooks, usually from my mum. She knows I write a lot of things down, I use them for making lists, writing ideas for my blogs and I also use them a lot for work. They are also pretty to have around, so you know why not.
Paperchase is an obvious go-to for lovely stationary, and I especially love this magnetic notebook. They’re great for handbags, I tend to ruin normal notebooks by putting them in my bag and can’t stand dog-eared pages.
So that wraps up my list. I’ll probably think of more on the lead up to Christmas, and I’ll think of loads afterwards that I should have put in my list!
Creative Cowell x
I woke up today and the first thing I thought was that today was the last full day of our tour. We still had another night and technically a full day in Vietnam before our flight home, but wouldn’t be with our tour group. There was definitely a sense of relief, but also a disbelief of how much I’d seen with my time here, and how far we had travelled.
Our first stop of the day was the War Museum, which wasn’t very far from our hotel. It was mostly filled with photographs and spreads from Life magazine – but I especially found the section on agent orange interesting. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to see the whole of the museum, which I was slightly annoyed at. It was one of those days where we were just herded around far too much!
Our last cooking class was next – which I really did enjoy. I think it was the best of the three, where we made our whole lunch. First we created a fish sauce for dipping, a pork and prawn salad, spring rolls, caramelized pork with rice and then a nicely presented pineapple stick for afters. Pictures of mine and Adrian’s creations below! We also made little carrot flowers. I have no excuse not to make some lovely creations with my food at home now.
I think I was the only one that went a little over-board with my presentation, but I was rather chuffed with it!
My whole meal above and Adrian’s below – it was all really tasty!
After this we got on the bus to go and see the Chu Chi tunnels, which was quite a drive away from the main city. This was our last thing to see before our farewell dinner (and then we were freeeeeee to do our own thing for a while!). I didn’t take that manu photos at the tunnels, I took quite a few videos though. As you know I’m saving these for my vlog once I get my macbook fixed and back, which should be very soon! Here is one though. I thought it was amazing how easily the guy disappeared. And then of cause Adrian had to have a go!
On the way back into the city the heavens opened. There was so much water on the roads! It was quite amazing to see, and another part of Vietnam I’m glad we got to see.
Our farewell dinner was okay, a little awkward though if you ask me. We said goodbye to everyone and then me and Adi decided to go for a few drinks, as we didn’t have to be up in the morning! Above is a picture of us both at the fountains outside of the city hall.
The next day (technically day 13 I guess), was more of a kill time day. We had all day in Ho Chi Minh until we were being taken to the airport at 9pm that night. We did a lot of wandering. We sent Adrian’s brother a postcard from the post office, as he is living in Jakarta, Indonesia at the moment. It was weird that we were in the same time zone but not close enough to pop and see him! We also did a bit of souvenir shopping as we hadn’t really had the chance while we were on the go.
The flight home went without a hitch and I was quite relieved when we landed back in the UK. It was an AMAZING two week experience, and I would never had dreamed I would get the opportunity to go and experience it for free. Kuoni were brilliant, and I would seriously consider booking a holiday with them in the future, even if it isn’t a tour holiday as such.
I hope you enjoyed my posts!
Creative Cowell x
Day 10 was quite uneventful, so I’m doing two days in 1 post!
By day 10, we had been on the road that much that I started to feel like I was getting travel sickness on the minibus. It never actually happened, but my god I felt awful for hours! Today was like a whole day on the minibus with a few stops here and there. We arrived in Can Tho at around 5pm and had the rest of the afternoon/night to ourselves. Me and Adrian decided to go off by ourselves for a bit – but to be honest I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the looks the locals gave us. There wasn’t many western people around and didn’t look like they passed through here very often. We found a nice restaurant that served Vietnamese and some western dishes as well. Adi had pizza, which looked amazing and I wish I’d had the same! I went with sea bass with peppercorn sauce and chips – but even that was pretty good and a nice change to what we’d been eating for the last 10 days!
We wandered back to the hotel and had a cocktail at the hotels sky bar. We sat there for a while looking out at the view – this was Halloween night and we so wished we could have stayed in Ho Chi Minh for Halloween as I think the atmosphere would’ve been electric! We went to bed at a fairly reasonable time because we had to be up early for a trip to the floating market (the only thing we had travelled all this way for…).
Early start and off to get on a boat on the Mekong Delta. The river is HUGE, so wide, and with lots of little rivers running from it, with houses stacked on the banks. The river was also so dirty – yet the locals could be seen washing there clothes from the back of there homes in the river.
We transferred to an even smaller boat. I now know that I’m not a fan of going from one boat to another boat. Far too much movement! I did however get some nice photos taken of me and Adi.
We were then back on the bigger boat to take us to the floating market. Each boat would stick whatever they were selling (like a pineapple) on a long bamboo stick high in the air so that it could be spotted from a distance. We also got free pineapple, which was pretty tasty, and so so fresh.
After this was lunchtime. We experienced ‘elephant fish’ for the first time – which we can safely say we both didn’t like. It was like a really weird texture. You know that double mint chewing gum you can buy and it’s a slightly different texture to normal chewing gum – it was like that. But like tasteless. And apparently you ate the scales. Well I wasn’t going too.
We had an hour to chill at the hotel after this before setting off back to Ho Chi Minh city. We made quite good time, and it didn’t seem quite as long on the way back.
We visited a pagoda in the city, where we wrote our name on a piece of paper to bring our family good luck. Adrian also prayed to the money god, we’ll see if it works!
We got off the bus at the Notre Dame Cathedral – which was built by the French, not as impressive as the one in France I don’t think.
That night our tour guide had booked us in to a special restaurant with amazing views on the 51st floor (this wasn’t part of our tour, so this was a meal we had to pay for). The menu was so expensive and we felt terribly embarrassed but had to leave because of how expensive it was. We were nearly at the end of our holiday and had to make our remaining spending money last obviously, and hadn’t factored into our budget any meals like that as most things had been included. It stressed me out, but I got over it pretty quickly when we went down a floor into the Cafe to have a cocktail instead. We hadn’t eaten anything for hours and was so hungry so it didn’t take long for the cocktail to have an effect! After this we found a nice simple cafe, and have to admit we indulged ourselves on western food again, oops!
Afterwards we went to the hotel bar and had another cocktail, before going to bed before our last full day of our tour!
Creative Cowell x
Today was the day I had been looking forward to most, and it didn’t disappoint. I was anxious about it too!
Firstly we were off to see some rubber and coffee plantations. I was a little bored with this, as me and Adrian had watched a programme already about these – but was also nice to see with my own eyes. The highlight (or maybe not highlight, more like most interesting thing about being there) was that we saw this huge, weird exotic spider. I of cause, kept my distance. But it was very vibrant. We couldn’t get a very good picture of it unfortunately, and I definitely wasn’t going to get too close to get a better one. I found an image online however:
I’d be pretty scared if I saw that crawling round my house. After the trip here, we had a long drive to go and see the elephants! Once we got there, we could see them minding there own business in the lake in the distance, and then the Vietnamese got in boats to go out to get them. Apparently they don’t get that many tourists so I think the elephants get plenty of time off!
I was quite anxious at first and wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to go through with it and get on – but I felt better when I found out it was two to an elephant. We had to walk up this big concrete thing to be able to get to the same height as the elephant to be able to clamber on! It was quite jolty once on and moving around, but I felt safer knowing we were on the biggest elephant, and we had the most senior elephant handler!
The elephants all walked in a line down the road, one of the couples didn’t want to go on one so one of the tour guides went on one instead and he shouted behind him “Okay, now we go across the lake!”. My thoughts were, ahh okay that’s the end of the elephant ride, we’re going to get off now and take a boat across. Oh no. The elephants started descending down the banks of the lake, and I started to panic. Not only were we being tipped forward because of the angle of the elephant, we were going in WATER. Those of you who know me, know I’m not a big fan of any open water. Once in however, I was feeling okay. It was a really large lake, and was getting deeper and deeper as we were going in the middle. Thankfully it never got up to our feet but it was pretty close!
Once on the other side, the elephants circled around some trees and then we got off. We got in dug-out canoes to get back to the other side, which was interesting but I hardly moved once I got in because every slight movement seemed to tip it more than I was comfortable with.
Once we were back, it was back on the bus to go to a restaurant for lunch. After lunch we had some traditional Vietnamese music with dancing, which was quite interesting… we had ‘rice wine’ and it was so strong, and had like a woody taste to it because of the container that it was being held in.
We had a long drive again back to the airport ahead, and on the way we stopped at a Vietnamese Coffee place where we could just sit and chill out. I had my usual caramel latte, but iced seeing as the weather was so humid. I needed the caffeine as we still had a flight and a drive to our next hotel.
We arrived in Ho Chi Minh city, our last destination (apart from home) by plane at around 9pm. Our stay was at the Grand Hotel, which was in the built up district. It was a beautiful hotel, and was surrounded by equally beautiful hotels and buildings. We were having one night here, before traveling by minibus to Can Tho for one night, and then coming back to Grand Hotel for another two nights.
Thanks for reading!
Creative Cowell x
… it’s how good you want to be!
According to Paul Arden anyway. This is a very inspirational book for creatives, nicely written in little bite sized chunks with lovely little photos. It has some great advice throughout, I’m sill making my way through it slowly!
Originally in the post I was going to write all about this lovely little book. But instead it has led me to talk about something else. A little while a go I read an article about why our generation, Generation Y, expect so much out of life, and why we never feel as fulfilled as we want.
We are brought up and told by our parents that ‘You can be whatever you want to be, if you work hard enough’ – which as we have grown up to discover, isn’t the case at all, for most of us. I found a similar article (I couldn’t find the original article unfortunately) here. The original spoke about how it was making our generation feel deflated, depressed and have a horrible sense of un-achievement, because we aren’t getting to where we were promised!
So even though I agree with Paul Arden’s book saying that great things can happen if you work hard enough and want it enough, there are however a very large majority of people that won’t get the job they want, the pay they want, the lifestyle that they have always dreamed of. Not everybody can be successful. I wouldn’t class myself in either one of these categories, I don’t see myself as unsuccessful and on the breadline, but I also don’t see myself as successful as I want to be some day. Success for me is owning my own business, a world famous ‘creative lifestyle’ blog and an income where I am comfortable. Not to say that will ever happen, but at the moment, for my age, I’m perfectly happy with where I am. Like most people, I have to save for big purchases and budget my money accordingly. I would expect nothing more at 23 years old.
Are you where you expected to be at the age you are? Do you feel like you aren’t achieving as much as you could?
Creative Cowell x
The last one!
This weeks post is about something that can be a bit touchy for me to talk about. Form & Function was the name of our collective design studio that I set up along with my two friends from University. Winning the Market Rasen bid for the Destination Branding spurred us on all the more – we felt unstoppable! We even managed to get a grant from the Universities Enterprise scheme aimed at starting new businesses, something else we had to pitch for and won.
It all got a bit hard when University finished and we left to come back to Norfolk, we had to get other jobs to allow us to live our lives whilst trying to keep our studio alive. This was the hard bit, and the bit that killed Form & Function unfortunately.
I kept going for around a year, sorting contracts, researching into what kind of prices we should charge. Along with working full time as a designer at a sign company to pay for my car, my board at home and having general spending money to do stuff with. It wasn’t making me very happy to say the least.
Then, in the November of 2013, I suddenly lost my nan. I was very close to her, so obviously took it very hard. It was a very hard time for me. I was juggling with the grief, working full time at a sign company, completing a CIM qualification in Marketing and trying to keep a new relationship going all at once! I couldn’t do it, and nearly broke down. I had to eliminate at least one of them, so decided to get rid of (at the time was only temporarily) being part of the business. I sat down with my business partners and explained that it was something I would have to leave for now and come back to it once everything had calmed down.
Unfortunately, after a few months, they didn’t want to carry it on anymore, so the business was in the simplest terms declared dead. Looking back, I do regret pulling out, but I also have to think about what would have happened to me if I’d have kept going the way I was. I probably wouldn’t have been able to keep my relationship going with Adrian, who I’m extremely happy with and is a massive part of my life.
I do think about going it alone – doing some freelance work, but feel like I’m still gaining experience in my field. It’s definitely something I want to do in the future! I’m also not very good at failing, hence why it’s so hard for me to talk about. People who know me well know not to bring the subject up!
Do you have your own business? How hard was it for you in the beginning?
I set up a blog as Form & Function – if you’d like to read more about it go here. That’s the end of my Throwback posts I’m afraid – but won’t be the end to my posting. I’m still planning on keeping it going. Although I will be a little quieter this month as I’ll be out of the country! Time to schedule some posts I think…
Creative Cowell x
Who here uses Pinterest? Who here uses Pinterest as a tool to get more blog traffic? Me neither.
I’ve started recently listening to some podcasts and was surprised at the amount of design and creative related podcasts are available on itunes. A particular favourite of mine at the moment is How They Blog. In the second episode ‘Strategic Blogging’, Kat Lee interviews blogger Rebekah Hoffer about how Pinterest tripled her blog traffic.
There are 3 simple steps to make Pinterest a successful aid in getting your blog ‘out there’.
Another thing that Rebekah mentions, is scheduling pins. I never even knew you could do this, but with an application like Ahalogy, you can! (At the time of the podcast, Ahalogy was free, but since then it looks like it’s something aimed more at business marketing). There are others such as Viralwoot (free) and Viraltag (pay for).
Top Tip: Pinning others’ pins amongst your own helps to not annoy your followers. A mixture of your own and other pins from the same niche or subject will look a lot better anyway!
(Image taken from my I ❤ Typography board)
Can I pin the same pin more than once?
Apparently the answer to this is yes. Rebekah says she tells her clients to ‘pin the same pin more than what you find comfortable and then that’s probably enough’. I’m not sure how I feel about putting the same pin on the same board more than once… so I may not take that advice myself. But it does help if you have more than once image per blog post you can use. I already do this with promoting my posts via Twitter and Instagram – if I have more than one picture to use for the specific post, I feel a bit better about tweeting about it more than a couple of times.
Hashtags on Pinterest are not needed. Pinterest works from keywords – so just make sure all your keywords are put in your description on your pin!
Another interesting thing that Rebekah said was act like you are already significant. Write like you are talking to someone specific, someone you know will enjoy the content you are putting out there.
Pinterest for me has always been a personal application that allows me to compile pictures of things I want to remember. I never thought that by other people doing this, it could make them want to pin one of your pins because of a list or ‘how to’ from your own blog. Amazing! I’m definitely going to be giving this a go.
If you’d like to give it a listen for yourself, the podcast is available here (It’s number 2).
Creative Cowell x
Link to my pinterest.
2 Years Ago
I cannot believe I didn’t blog about this at the time. I guess I was kind of willing University to be over, but at the same time not wanting it to end.
Instead of writing a long post this week – I thought I would create a video which shows the creation and the end result of the show. Enjoy!
I had to get familiar and cosy again with Premier Pro – surprising how much you remember!
Creative Cowell x
Barcelona – February 2014
Last year I was itching to go on a trip somewhere – so me and Adrian decided to jet off for a long weekend somewhere. We decided to tie it in with Valentines day. I’d always wanted to try Barcelona, so Adrian let me have my way and off we went! It was quite last minute, I think we booked it about three weeks before we ended up going.
It was a lovely weekend, although I’m used to going somewhere where there is tons to do – I found Barcelona quite limiting.
It was absolutely gorgeous weather whilst we were there. We were walking around in t-shirts, the locals were all still wrapped up in coats! We didn’t really go for the sun so it was a nice added bonus.
This was something I’d wanted to see for a long time – The Sagrada Familia. It’s a pretty amazing building.
And of cause I can’t resist a bit of typography. I loved these typographic carvings that had been created. We didn’t see an awful lot else while we were there, but it was nice to walk around a new place and chill out. We found a nice park with some fountains too, which looked like it was half finished.
It had some really cool gold sculptures on top of the buildings.
Overall it was a bit of a different city break to what I’m used too. It was like a nice little mini holiday! I’m nearly at the end of my throwback posts with only a couple left – but I’m hoping to keep up the ‘travel’ posts when I come back from Vietnam (5 weeks yesterday until we go!). It’s going to be rammed with different things so I’m eager to capture every moment of it.
I’ve also got an interesting new project lined up. I’ll keep you posted.
Creative Cowell x
This is a short post but definitely something worth blogging about!
I follow Anthony Burrill, who is one of my all time favourite Graphic Designers, on Instagram and noticed he was posting about a screen printing firm that he had designed a samples book for. So, curious, I of cause took a closer look.
Harvey Lloyd Screens were offering these samples to people that wanted them (as a limited supply) and I just had to have one! I could smell the printing ink as soon as I opened the box, which took me back a few years. The pages are all different materials and effectively shows how they can screen print, in various colours, onto these materials and ‘any material’ apparently! As you can see, the book is very much in Anthony’s graphic style.
I also love the use of triangles in this!
And there is also a page with a nice big dye-cut circle.
Designed by Anthony Burrill – printed by Harvey Lloyd Screens.
Harvey Lloyd Screens are based in East Sussex and have all sorts of printing equipment, including digital printing. Contact them here for your printing needs. I also recommend you check them out on Instagram, they’re always posting some interesting stuff they’re working on.
So there you have it. A lovely screen printed book that can be added to my collection of little graphic things I love.
Creative Cowell x
Graduation – September 2013
A few days ago marked two years since I graduated! So I thought I would dedicate this post on tips of how to enjoy your special day.
#1 It’s your day – enjoy it!
This is at the top of the list and I can’t stress it enough. Graduating is a big deal, it’s the ending of a big chunk of your life and it has to be celebrated! All of your hard work boils down to this day. I have to say that I’m not one to be up on stage in front of loads of people, but when my name got called I wasn’t even nervous about walking out. It was my day and I was achieving something I’d aimed to do since I finished High School – get a degree. You only get one graduation day, so enjoy it!
#2 Don’t trip
Talking of the stage… concentrate on your steps and don’t trip! Most ceremonies get filmed by the university and the last thing you want to be remembered for is a classic youtube moment…
#3 Don’t style your hair
Meaning clipping it up etc. There really is no point. The hats are so awkward, the last thing you want to do is have to re-do your hair after you’ve given the cap and gowns back.
#4 Have a picture taker
Having somebody in your family nominated to take photos would be a brilliant help. You’ll be too busy catching up with friends, and probably saying goodbye to most of them for good. The last thing you want to be doing is trying to capture every moment, so give the job to somebody else.
#5 Wear something light
The gowns can be quite heavy and are thick – so depending on what time of year you are graduating, you may want to wear something light underneath. I wore a dress and I was still so hot!
#6 Don’t worry
This is probably a harder one to follow. Graduation marks the end of one era and the start of a new one, but most won’t know what they are going onto next. I thought I did… but thats for another time. Relax, do some careful planning and work out what you want to do and where you want to go. For instance, I knew I didn’t want to start off in London, but have always considered I may end up there one day. Everybody’s different, and London isn’t the only place for design jobs.
So two years on, I work as an in-house designer for a housing association, I’m engaged and planning a wedding, I’ve moved out of my parents house and is renting with my other half. Oh, and I have two cats. Was any of that in my plans? Nope.
But I’m happy, and that’s all that matters.
Creative Cowell x