Wellbeing

image

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

#100DaysOfAmpersands: Weekly roundup #4

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 19

Day 20: First attempt at brush script – what do you think?

Day 20

Day 21: It’s been a while since I did any embossing – I took advantage of the gold + sunshine.

Day 21

Day 22: I have so many times gone to throw these foam letters away, glad they have been a little useful.

Day 22

Day 23: I really want to finish these decopache ampersands, so that I can add them to the rest of my collection!

Day 23

Day 24: Milk bottles = totally ruined my healthy lunch by eating these afterwards…

Day 24

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!

Day 25

Creative Cowell x

#100DaysOfAmpersands: Weekly roundup #3

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 12

Day 13: This is the last cupcake I swear!!

Day 13

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 14

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 15

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 16

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 17

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.

Day 18

So that’s another week gone! And now over 20% of the way!

Creative Cowell x

Wedding invites

*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?

IMG_0469

IMG_0470

IMG_0472

IMG_0473

IMG_0475

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

#100DaysOfAmpersands: Weekly Roundup #2

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 5

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 6

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 7

Day 8: So I was naughty and went to Mcdonald’s for my lunch as I was off work – fries anyone?

Day 8

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 9

Day 10: Some more cupcake shots, as I decorated them all differently with different ampersands!

Day 10

Day 11: Another cupcake anyone?

Day 11

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

#100DaysOfAmpersands: Weekly Roundup #1

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 1

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 2

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 3

Day 4: A simple on to finish the week, a nice simple sketch, with my favourite fluro implements in shot!

Day 4

I hope you’ve liked my efforts so far, I can’t wait to keep going!

My favourites so far are…
1// #100DaysOfNatureInked by @OhHeyStudio
2// #100DaysOfGraphique by @NatashaNuttall
3// #100DaysOfInkedAstronomy by @MYFAIRPIXEL

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

The #100DayProject 2016

The100DayProject_-2016

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!

Ampersand light

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:)

The100DayProject-2016 instructions

Are you taking part? Let me know the hashtag you’ll be using so I can follow!

Creative Cowell x

On a Side Note #4: London

side note 4

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!

IMG_0369

IMG_0371

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.

IMG_0378

IMG_0377

IMG_0379

IMG_0376

IMG_0374

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!

IMG_0389

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!

IMG_0381

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.

IMG_0385

IMG_0386

IMG_0387

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!

Design 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 @papernstitch)
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

New Discovery: Cricut Explore Air

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.

IMG_0294

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.

giphy

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

feature

On a Side Note #3

Side note 3

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!

Design links:

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.

Currently designing:

*// 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

IMG_0302

On a Side Note #2

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!

IMG_0297

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!

Design links:

1// Interesting to hear other peoples views, but I’m voting #brexit.
2// This is going on my wishlist!
3// People of print are one of my faves to browse.

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

Side note #1

On a Side Note #1

Side note #1

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.

Design links:

1// This fulfilled my love of typography for a while.
2// Question time with Jessica Hische.
3// Learning some Photoshop tricks with Mario Sanchez Nevado.

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:

1// Kaycarrera

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 11.36.31

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!?

2// typeeverything

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 11.38.13

Of course, I had to have an account in my favourites that features typography.

3// sugarandbash

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 11.43.16

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.

Currently designing:

  • Currently working on something made from paper at work – all will be revealed in the next couple of weeks! I’m also making a video of my process of how I made it – so look out for that soon!
  • Also still working on my wedding invitations… I’ve been too-ing and fro-ing a lot with designs, but I’m hoping to have a finalised one by Sunday.

What have you been looking at this week? Let me know in the comments below!

Creative Cowell x

Nacho

My Valentines Day

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?

Nacho

I hope you all enjoyed your day!

Creative Cowell x

IMG_0143

It’s so LUSH!

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…

IMG_0150

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

 

IMG_0121 new

The Month of January

IMG_0121 new

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

 

IMG_0107

Goals of a Blogger

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.

IMG_0107

  1. My own domain to make it more mine. If anybody has any tips on this, I would be very grateful.
  2. A complete redesign. A logo to create more of a brand for Creative Cowell and also a redesign of the blog itself.
  3. Create a facebook page. I never really wanted to create a page for it, but have seen a lot of people have some success with this. I’m going to give it a go and aim to get 100 followers as a start by July 2016.
  4. Twitter followers – I don’t have a major following, but haven’t really tried either. I have around 200 at the moment, which I’m really happy about! I’d like to grow this to 500 by July.
  5. Instagram – I want to gain more followers so that I’m up to 200. This isn’t a major connection to my blog if I’m honest. I treat it as a personal thing so I’m not to worried if this doesn’t grow too much.

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

 

IMG_0114

What I’ve learnt in 2015

IMG_0114

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…

IMG_0110

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

 

IMG_0101

Goody Goody Gift Swap: 2015

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!

IMG_0093

The packages arrived and inside everything was wrapped in some lovely maroon tissue paper.

IMG_0102

A very cute little hand made origami star necklace

IMG_0096

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!

IMG_0097

A compliments card that I can use

IMG_0100

A handmade origami christmas decoration – which I love by the way

IMG_0101

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…

IMG_0098

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.

IMG_0099

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

DSC_0043smaller

Oh Christmas Tree…

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.

DSC_0042smaller

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!

DSC_0041smaller

Creative Cowell x

IMG_0041

Creative Christmas Cards

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!

IMG_0021

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.

IMG_0026

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.

IMG_0036

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.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 16.20.52

…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!

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 16.21.22

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!

IMG_0039

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 16.32.02

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

featuredlist

Christmas Wishlist 2015

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!).

1. LEAF by Bellabeat

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?

leaf_without_back

 

2. Urban Grow Star Terrarium Planter

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.

5559444450222_000_f

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.

5. Notebooks

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.

00546243_1

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

DSC_0830smaller

Vietnam Explorer Day #12

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!

DSC_0834smaller

DSC_0838smaller

DSC_0842smaller

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!

DSC_0844smaller

DSC_0847smaller

My whole meal above and Adrian’s below – it was all really tasty!

DSC_0848smaller

 

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.

IMG_0019

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

 

DSC_0763smaller

Vietnam Explorer Day #10 & #11

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…).

Day #11

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.

DSC_0768smaller

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.

DSC_0756smaller

DSC_0761smaller

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.

DSC_0780smaller

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.

DSC_0808smaller

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!

DSC_0813smaller

DSC_0814smaller

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.

DSC_0820smaller

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

 

DSC_0664smaller

Vietnam Explorer Day #9

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:

Insects-animals-nature-font-b-Spider-b-font-3-Sizes-font-b-Silk-b-font-font

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!

DSC_0671smaller

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!

DSC_0687smaller

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!

DSC_0698smaller

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.

DSC_0723smaller

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.

DSC_0743smaller

DSC_0746smaller

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.

DSC_0750smaller

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

DSC_0440

It’s not how good you are…

… 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!

DSC_0442

DSC_0443

DSC_0445

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.

You can

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

F&F

Throwback Thursday #10

The last one!

DSCF0359

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

Pinterest for bloggers

Pinterest for Bloggers?

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’.

  • Content & Images – content is king. But without images, there will be nothing to pin. Good images are mandatory, but remember they can also be text images.
  • Organise your profile. Have boards that cater to your blog at the top where they will be seen first; this attracts the right audience.
  • Get in on group boards. Search keywords on Pinterest to find group boards and ask if you can contribute.

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!

type board

(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.

# Tagging
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

Credits to How To Blog (Kat Lee) and Simply Rebekah (Rebekah Hoffer) Thanks for the tips!

Link to my pinterest.

SHOW_THIRTEEN Year photo

Throwback Thursday #9

Show Thirteen

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

 

1

Throwback Thursday #8

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.

4

This was something I’d wanted to see for a long time – The Sagrada Familia. It’s a pretty amazing building.

3

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.

2

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

 

 

 

DSC_0396

Harvey Lloyd Screens

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.

DSC_0401

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.

DSC_0403

I also love the use of triangles in this!

DSC_0410

And there is also a page with a nice big dye-cut circle.

DSC_0411

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

736794_10151956443818646_2024843132_o

Throwback Thursday #7

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!

1271720_10151956448103646_119887399_o

#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…

1236855_10151691257458985_1291558266_n

#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.

1268619_10202116456099741_941227604_o

#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.

1175496_574418515926723_1797275240_n

#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!

1236120_10152187835619046_36786719_n

#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