My 5 Favourite Podcasts to Help me Switch Off

I wrote a posta couple of weeks ago all about the podcasts I love to listen to, to help me as a creative entrepreneur, but, as much as I love podcasts to get me fired up for a day at work, I also listen to podcasts a lot to relax. When I was a kid I used to listen to stories on cassette tapes every night to help me fall asleep, and I guess in a lot of ways, I’ve just moved from Fantastic Mr Fox to a slightly more adult kind of content – but it’s the same thing for me, really. Some of these are soothing and fictional, others are brilliantly educational – but they’re all shows I never miss an episode of!

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The one for true crime storytime: Casefile

I do listen to and watch quite a lot of True Crime content, and I actually could easily have made this entire list up of True Crime shows – but don’t worry, I haven’t! Casefile is the first True Crime podcast I started listening to and it’s still my most listened to. Each episode is researched so well, is usually a good length – around the hour mark – and the production quality and mixing is excellent, so it makes for a consistently enjoyable listen, and I appreciate not having to adjust the volume constantly! Some cases covered are well known, some are a lot more obscure but I feel like they’re all handled respectfully and that’s something I always need from a True Crime podcast.

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The one that’s delightfully deadly: This Podcast Will Kill You

When I was a kid I was very into history, but, well, it was never really the the kind of stuff we studied about in school that got my attention. I was obsessed with The Black Death, in particular. I kind of always hid away my love for learning about diseases and the like, assuming that this was probably not something that would be well received in polite conversation – that is, until I found This Podcast Will Kill You and the Erins – the hosts of the show, two women who are epidemiologists and are also slightly obsessed with plague. This Podcast Will Kill You is all about epidemiology – which essentially means it’s a show that discusses diseases, how they work, where they came from, how we handle them, and how much of a threat they are to us going forward. Each episode focuses on a specific illness and Erin and Erin are so amazingly passionate at describing everything they know about it. It sounds like a pretty dark topic for a podcast, but honestly it’s a very funny, educational listen.

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The one that’s fascinatingly morbid: Death in the Afternoon

This is a podcast by Caitlin Doughty, who you might know as Ask a Mortician on Youtube (and if you don’t, seriously, check her out). Caitlin is a mortician who is very passionate about changing the way the western world thinks about death and what we do with dead bodies. Death in the Afternoon is a brilliant listen that deals with topics surrounding death in an approachable, humorous way, that is also respectful and factual. I get that listening to a podcast about death might not sound like a nice way to chill out in the bath after a long week at work, but honestly, if you’ve never read any of Caitlin’s books or watched her on YouTube, definitely check her out before ruling Death in the Afternoon out.

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The one for Halloween-feels, all year round: Lore

I have to start this off by saying that I’m really someone who believes in ghosts, or the paranormal  but – I absoluely love Lore. Lore is like part ghost story, part study into the origins of urban legends and folklore – all set to beautiful, soothing piano music. Lore is what I listen to most nights to send me to sleep and it works wonders! Some of the stories covered are things I’ve heard of before, some are completely new to me, but most interesting of all, I think, are the episodes that feature a bit of both, and draw connections between legends and tales from around the world. While I definitely fall into the category of being a skeptic as far as things like ghosts, yetis and the Loch Ness Monster are concerned, I’m also really fascinated with why these stories come into existence, I mean, they had to come from somewhere.

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The one my 8-year old self wished for: Stuff You Missed in History Class

Like I said above, I’ve always been really into history – less the whole, memorising which battle was when, and much more into the gory, and the personal side of it all. And, luckily for me, this is exactly what Stuff You Missed in History Class is like – it tells the stories we don’t usually get to hear, in a more colloquial and conversational manner than a lot of the other history podcasts out there. I have to admit that sometimes the episode title doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, but I always listen, and am almost always entertained and educated throughout – definitely one to check out for any fellow history fans out there!

So there you have it, 5 of my favourite podcasts for listening to while I’m chilling – this actually could easily have been a list of 10, but I wasn’t sure if that was maybe a bit much! If you’d like me to do a second post like this, let me know in the comments below, and please also share your favourite podcasts too – I am always looking for more gems!

 

 

My Summer Style Wishlist

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Photo by Ethan Robertson on Unsplash

Summer is by far the season that I get the least excited about – at least, in terms of putting outfits together. What can I say, in Scotland, Summer can be a fickle, fleeting phenomenon – and I don’t mean to sound negative about it, because honestly it’s fine, I love where I live, but it does make all the ads full of women with bare legs in March hold a lot less interest for me. On the flipside, Scotland actually had an incredible Summer last year *gives standing ovation* and I was woefully without appropriate warm weather clothes to wear. This year, normal service seems to have resumed – it’s 8c and raining as I write this – but I’m really not interested in adding much to my wardrobe just for the sake of ‘Summer vibes’, nope, I’m basically working off a lot of what I wore last year in the heat… just layered with tights and jackets!

There are a few things I’m on the hunt for – regular readers will know that I shop almost entirely second hand, and so it can really take a while, and a fair amount of rummaging, to find exactly what I’m looking for – so I keep a running list. Also, because of the second hand thing, I can’t link to exact styles, but I’ve made some little Pinterest boards to show the kind of styles I’m inspired by!

1. Belts

I used to belt basically every outfit that I wore. When I was about 17-19 no look was complete without a waist belt – boho dress, oversized shirt… tee and jeans…. yup. I definitely got more than a little carried away and after that I sort of put myself off the look altogether, BUT, I’m coming back around to it.

I’m definitely wearing more simple, flowing pieces these days and it’s nice to have the option to pull them in at the waist – at least on days where I’m not eating more pizza than any one human being should.

I’m also a lot more into wearing belts with my jeans – whether or not they actually need one – because I feel like it can really help a simple look feel a bit more polished and intentional. I bought a sort of western style one from ASOS (before I gave up fast-fashion) a couple of years ago, and I really love it, but it might be nice to have a little variety – maybe a brown one, maybe a more ornate one – just a few different options to play with.

Luckily, I feel like belts are fairly easy to come across in charity shops… although I do feel like Kenny may be spending a chunk of his Summer punching holes in them for me!

 

2. Long flowing cardigans or outerwear

Okay, so, I’m petite – I’m 5’2″ – and I’m also built fairly slim, so I’ve always had it in my head that I want to wear more fitted, neat pieces to draw attention to my little frame, and to try to not completely swamp myself in fabric. There probably is some logic to this, erm, I mean, maybe, but I’ve also become aware more recently that I carry most of the little height I have in my legs, and my torso is really quite compact. Add to that the fact that I have a big bust, and favor high-waisted jeans and there’s kind of a lot going on in my lil torso space – in particular, I sometimes feel when I wear my tight, leather jacket that it just adds so much, not even bulk, but “clutter”, to my top half.

Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be turning my back on my leather jackets or blazers any time soon, but I would definitely like to explore some sort of longer outerwear options, too. I have a couple of long wool coats, but even in Scotland those aren’t ideal Summer clothing, and so I’d like maybe a couple of lighter options – or maybe one really long cardigan and one long duster-jacket or similar.

Length-wise, I feel like sort of the longer the better really! Somewhere between my knee and my ankle would be ideal, and in terms of style, well, I’m just gonna see what I can find – if I find an amazing statement piece, I’ll work with that, if I find a stunning simple cut, I’ll work with that too.

 

3. Long dresses and skirts

This sort of ties in with the point above re: squished little torso,  but it’s also because over the past, I dunno, year or so, I’ve gotten rid of all my little skater style skirts and dresses – I wore them a LOT so it’s sort of left a gap in my wardrobe. Why did I get rid of them? I just wasn’t reaching for them anymore. While I firmly believe that people don’t have to dress a certain way based on their age, I just know that I, personally, started to feel a bit uncomfortable in those short, flippy skirts.

In terms of styles of what I’m looking for, I’d say that really I’m open to trying most things – different materials, lengths and cuts – but the one thing I would really like is for them to be versatile. It would be nice to be able to wear them with bare legs in the warmer months, but also, to be able to put a long sleeve top underneath and wear it with some tights and boots during the other 10 months of the year. I can’t really bear the thought of finding this perfect dress and then only being able to wear it on a rare, sunny day.

So ta-dah, that’s my fairly short Summer style wish-list for this year. I’m actually quite proud of myself with this one – I feel like the three items I’m looking for all sort of make sense together, and I can see why they would fit well into my wardrobe longer term, and not just because they’re “on trend” this season. I would love to hear what you’re looking for this Summer? Or have you already found any warm-weather gems! Let me know down in the comments below!

 

 

The Weirdest Reason to Not Write a Blog Post?

Writers block, a creative rut, or outright procrastination, there’s certainly a lot of reasons why I’ve failed to write as regularly as I’d have hoped to over the years, but right now, I have a problem much more bizarre than any of those…

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Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash

Okay, so, currently I’m coming up with a lot of ideas to write about – so, check – I have the time to write – check – and I’m very excited about what I want to right about – again, check. But, and it’s a big but, I’m hardly writing anything at all because every idea I’m coming up with, I feel like I should save it for “later”. Later, when I’m a better writer, later when I’m more knowledgeable on the subject and later when hopefully, I’ll be able to reach more people with my writing.

It’s like a crazy mutation of imposter syndrome – it’s not that I feel I’m not good enough to write; I firmly believe that everyone has a unique voice and viewpoint to share, including me. No, this is like some sort of self-imposed, nonsensical, qualification system, whereby I’m restricting myself to only write about the things I’m currently “good enough for”.

And, “good enough for”, what does that even mean? The way to become more comfortable with writing is to write more, and the way to become more knowledgeable about a subject is to study it. By locking myself into this cycle where I won’t let myself write because I’m not good enough, but I can’t get better because I won’t let myself write, is just locking in a course for failure.

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Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s probably quite normal to keep a project or two up our sleeves for the future – for me, that would be writing fiction – but I think the goal then is still to be moving towards that, right? It’s one thing to be not quite ready for a project and to circle it slowly, but it’s another thing altogether to lock it away in a box and put it on the high shelf out of reach for “when we’re good enough”.

And for me, the craziest thing about all this is that this idea of not wanting to “waste” a good post idea really goes against the essence of what I want my blog to be. I’ve never intended to try and write a blog from the standpoint of being an “expert” on any given subject; I’m a human, on a journey, learning and making mistakes, and I’ve always wanted my writing to reflect that – ESPECIALLY when it comes to writing a blog, which is, by it’s nature, a sort of continuous writing piece with ebbing and flowing subjects and opinions, rather than some sort of static encyclopaedia type work. So, yeah, maybe tomorrow I’ll write a post about something; I’ll give it my all, I’ll believe what I write but then 18 months later I’ve learned a lot more or I’ve changed my mind entirely – that’s completely okay!

Growth and change are normal, they are great in fact – if I was ever to stop opening my mind and my heart in order to be able to say “here is my definitive opinion on whatever”, I think that would be sad, and it’s certainly not a state of being that I’m aiming for, or one that I would like to portray in my writing. So, I’ll conclude this long blog post about erm… how I can’t write blog posts by saying; I’m here, I’m bursting with ideas and it’s time to let them come flooding out. And, if you’re here, reading this and you too have felt like you’re “not good enough” or knowledgeable enough to write about something you’re passionate about, then let this post be a little nudge for you – YOU ARE AND YOU CAN.

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Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash

My first time taking valium for a flight

Have I mentioned yet that I’m just back from a Florida vacation? Oh, only a couple of hundred times, huh? Well, it was our first vacation in five years and so it was quite the shake up of my routine – both in terms of my eBay business, and also for my mental health.

*I just want to quickly say that this blog post is simply my experience with taking valium for the first time, of course, people can react differently to medication so please discuss any questions you have with your doctor prior to obtaining or using a prescription.*

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Photo by Anastasiia Ostapovych on Unsplash

Why was I considering taking Valium?

On the previous two occasions that I have attempted to board a plane – in 2016 and 2017 – I’ve had panic attacks so severe that I’ve had to do a runner – letting people down that I love and holding up a frigging jumbo jet while my bags were removed. Not my favourite memories ever to be honest.

So that’s probably a decent enough explanation as to why I needed some help to fly this time, and I don’t want to turn this intro into a novel, but I should probably also just point out that I am actually not afraid of flying, like, at all. Yeah, I know, but hear me out. My issue is actually that I suffer from cleithrophobia – which is the fear of being trapped. It’s like a sister to claustrophobia – which is the fear of enclosed spaces. So, I have no fear of take-off or landing, of turbulence, or a worry about terror threats, no, for me, a flight is a nightmare simply because I’m stuck in one space for an extended period of time – it would be just as intense if I was locked in a huge gym hall on the ground, or a bus, or aything like that!

Because the fear for me is of being trapped rather than being on a plane, the panic attacks start much earlier than actually being near a plane, for example, once you go through security in an airport you are “trapped” in the departure lounge, so that’s also a big trigger for me. In fact, just having a holiday booked and knowing I “have” to go is enough to make me feel trapped and triggered (I’ll write a lot more about cleithrophobia at another time, I promise).

Why did I decide to take Valium?

So, I prepared for this holiday in a lot of ways beyond just buying a swimsuit – I began a medititation practice, I started doing yoga again, and I even tried EFT with the help of my mum. I became confident that I could handle most of the journey on my own, like getting through check-in, security and such, but I still just had this gut-wrenching fear that when push came to shove, I would still be unable to board the plane.

I wrestled with the feeling for months, but eventually decided to go and speak to my doctor. In all honesty, I felt like a bit of a failure for having to go and get valium prescribed to go on holiday – I felt like it was “supposed” to be this happy treat and not something that should require pharmacutical intervention, as in, it’s not a “necessary” thing to go on holiday, is it?

My experience with my doctor

My doctor was amazing though, he helped me to see things in a different light by explaining that anxiety is a battle I face every single day, and I deserve to have a holiday, to relax, that it will overall do good for my mental health. He was also very much of the opinion that because of my previous failure to board experiences I was building the experience up in my head and it was weighing on my mind a lot – and that I’d feel a lot better once I’d conquered this fear, even if I needed a little help to do it. He also let me know that people needing sedation to fly is actually fairly common – either in the form of prescribed medication, or a few strong drinks before they board, which I’d never really thought of before!

He gave me some tablets, that were a pretty low dose, explaining that because I’d never been sedated before, I probably wouldn’t need much – but, he enouraged me to test them out before we traveled so that I’d know how they make me feel, and also be able to go back to him if I needed a higher dosage.

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Photo by Anastasiia Ostapovych on Unsplash

 

The actual travel experience

Testing out the valium actually didn’t work super well for me – it allowed me to realise that I didn’t experience any mad side-effects, but I couldn’t tell if they “worked” when it came to sedating me – I think this is because I didn’t try taking them when I was in a super-anxious state, so it was hard to measure the effect because I was already calm when I took them.

However, when it came time to travel, I put a lot of faith in the tablets, not least because my doctor had explained I could take two of the tablets, if one didn’t cut it, so I felt like I had some control over the situation. On the day, I made it through check-in and security with some deep-breathing and focus exercises, I was proud of myself, but, as boarding time approached I could feel the adrenaline flooding through my system and I was losing the ability to think rationally about things – time to take a pill.

I took one pill at this point and I would say it hit me very quickly – within 10-15 minutes – although this was on a completely empty stomach as I’d been unable to eat or drink anything that day because of the anxiety. How did it make me feel? It’s strange because it doesn’t really make me feel anything, it’s more like the abscence of a feeling. Basically, when I take valium I don’t feel drowsy, or drunk or happy, for me, all it does is turn off the adrenaline.

For anyone who has had a panic attack, you know the feeling, where adrenaline is rushing into your system, your heart is racing, your stomach churning, brain running 100 miles an hour – it’s a battle to keep your mind rational. You feel like you’re going to vomit or die and all your internal alarms are going off, yes, you can fight it, and I have, many, many times, but it is exhausting and upsetting and just a constant struggle. So for me, valium just turned off the adrenaline and with it, the physical symptoms.

I wasn’t suddenly happy about boarding a flight – mentally, I was still really scared, but my body didn’t respond with all the physical stuff, so it meant that I was much more able to control my thoughts to focus on something else, and to speak rationally to myself. In other words, the valium stopped me from having a panic response, and just downgraded the whole experience to “nervousness”, which is a vast improvement.

What happened when it wore off?

My doctor had told me that valium typically lasts 4-6 hours in the system, although it’s a little difficult to say precisely, as different people react to it differently. I decided that since it kicked in super fast for me, I wasn’t going to set a timer or anything to take another one, I was just going to see how it felt.

I think really, my hope was that once it wore off part-way through the flight, I would feel fine and not need to take another one – I think I still felt like I had something to prove, or that I could handle this on my own. As it turned out, I did become aware of the valium wearing off. The restlessness in my legs, the anxious wringing of hands, the increased heart rate and breathing speed, the nausea – could I have talked myself down and done the rest of the flight valium free? Maybe, but I was so exhausted from the days of worry leading up to the flight and so keen to just not have a negative experience with flying that I decided to take another pill. Again, it kicked in quickly (although by this point I did have food in my stomach!) and felt exactly the same as the first time. I think I definitely made the right decision to take another one – not least because we faced big delays when we landed and I needed my mental strength to stay calm and manage those.

So, what about next time I fly?

The news that I had managed to board a plane reached my family and those close to me, who were very proud of me and relieved about the whole thing, however, in conversation with them since coming home, there seems to be a lot of feeling that, “well you’ve overcome that fear now, all sorted”, but, erm, I have to say unfortunately I don’t agree.

We actually already have travel plans booked for next year, and while I do feel more optimistic about it all, including the plane-boarding part, I think I have to remember that I do suffer from cleithrophobia and in a lot of ways the whole airport, long-haul flight situation is the biggest trigger that I can face. Anyone who flies long-haul knows it’s a long day, but to experience intermittent panic attacks on that day just makes it absolutely brutal, and soul-breaking.

Honestly, I feel like next time I fly I would still like to have valium with me – maybe I’ll take it, maybe I won’t, but I want to give myself the option and to give myself back the feeling of control over the day. I really, really don’t want to spend 11 months looking forward to this trip and thinking I’ll be fine with the flight only to have it all come crashing down in the 30 minutes of boarding time – been there, done that, have the nightmares about it.

Yes, ideally in the long run, I won’t have to be sedated everytime I fly, but one flight does not a phobia cure, as they say… probably. I think this is a baby-steps scenario and I feel comfortable with that. I don’t feel ashamed for having to take a sedative, and I don’t feel like I need to prove myself to other people – I’m just going to take this at a pace that feels right for me.

 

 

 

5 Best Podcasts for Creative Entrepreneurs

Podcasts, eh? What did we used to do all day before we had all these amazing shows to listen to? Well, I for one used to get a song stuck in my head and sing the same three lines to myself over, and over, so yeah, thank God for podcasts – saving people who work alone at home from a slow descent into sing-song madness. I listen to all sorts of shows, to entertain me while I run, to help me fall asleep, and, increasingly, I’m listening to podcasts to help me run and grow my business. I want to share my five favourite work-related podcasts with you today – some are more specifically geared towards creative entrepreneurs, some dig deep, some are more generalized, but all of them are amazing and well and truly worth a listen.

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The Mood Booster – Creative Pep Talk with Andy J Pizza

When I get a bit bogged down in business admin, or I’m having some sort of creative confidence crisis – which is oh so often, let me tell you – Creative Pep Talk is always there to, well, give me a pep talk. Host, Andy is so passionate and insightful about being a creative that it’s impossible not to walk away from an episode feeling energized and remembering WHY you wanted to do this work in the first place. It’s a show that will help you overcome setbacks, whether it’s things in the real world, or that nagging voice in your head. It’s funny, it’s helpful, it’s a truly comforting voice in amongst the sea of depressing statistics about working in creative industries – I really couldn’t be without it.

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The All-Rounder – The Side Hustle Show with Nick Loper

A lot of the YouTube and podcast content I consume about business is geared specifically towards working in the creative industries or e-commerce, The Side Hustle Show is different for me, it covers industries from dog food blogging to knife sharpening – and while obviously not every bit of information is relatable or directly applicable to me or my entrepreneurship journey, I love the show for being a consistent source of inspiration – it’s the chance to hear people talk about their own entrepreneurial journeys: the challenges they’ve overcome, the lessons learned and the highlights too.

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The Eye Opener – Ctrl Alt Delete with Emma Gannon

While I do love working from home, alone, I think I definitely run the risk of ending up with my head up my own butt. Having only one opinion on something, hearing only one voice – I don’t think it’s ideal when running a business. Ctrl Alt Delete is one of my favourite podcasts because it gets me out of my own head and exposes me to amazing conversations, different experiences and stories than I would ever come across rattling about in my own head. While many of the guests are entrepreneurs, this show for me is less about literal advice and more about just getting the chance to think about something interesting – I often feel really inspired to write after I listen to this show.

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The Handmade One – Dear Handmade Life

I found this show while I was frantically trying to work out why I’m so bad at selling on Etsy – this show has given me a lot of good points to work on, but actually, it’s done a lot more too. One of my favourite aspects is that it tends to deep-dive some of the more nitty-gritty aspects of running a creative business – thing such as Pinterest strategies, sustainability in business and the differences between selling wholesale and retail. Some of the episode titles might not sound as sexy as some of those from other entrepreneurial shows, but at the end of the day, a lot of the time, running a business isn’t sexy. It’s important to visualise, to dream, to have goals… but it’s also really important to understand some of the legal aspects of being a working creative.

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The New Find – Raw Milk with Beth Kirby

Okay, so I only came across this one recently and I’ve only listened to a handful of episodes, but I just had to share it here! From the very first – two part – episode, the show had me hooked. Beth is engaging, inspiring, experienced and incredibly knowledgeable and she’s very free with sharing her lessons learned here on the show. I feel like I’m gushing, but honestly, she explained Instagram in a way that changed everything for me – I actually get it now, rather than just feeling like I “should” use it. I absolutely can’t get enough of this show right now and I’d really encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already – but pro-tip; you probably want a notebook to hand while you do, this show is absolutely packed with information you will not want to forget!

So, ta-dah, my 5 favourite podcasts for creative entrepreneurship – what do you think? If you have any suggestions, or any gems you think I’m missing, please let me know in the comments – I’m always on the hunt for enough shows to fill my days… lest I go back to singing Part of Your World over and over to myself…

 

 

 

 

The 5 Wardrobe Essentials I Don’t Own

I’m recently back from my first vacation in 5 years, and on that trip, amongst all the pancakes and alligators (it was Florida, clearly), I also got to experience the sheer joy that is dressing out of a suitcase. Two whole weeks of not having to try and hunt for that one teeny-tiny black sock that I so badly need and so badly can’t find. Two weeks of only having a few outfits to choose from, and knowing that they all fit and, wait for it, that I like them all.

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Photo by Jose Soriano on Unsplash

Since coming back to Scotland and facing my floordrobe, I’ve had renewed energy to streamline my clothing choices and to find that one bloody, tiny, perfect black sock. As a result of all this, I’ve been reading and watching a lot of content called things like, “10 must have wardrobe staples”, and “the 5 items you NEED in your closet” – and while, don’t get me wrong, it is helping me, I have also noticed that there are at least 5 items that consistently pop up in these lists that I just don’t own, and yet somehow, I’ve survived until the age of 28. I thought today I would share the 5 wardrobe essentials that I don’t own, and I’d love to hear your opinion – is it just me, or are these items not as ubiquitous in closets as YouTube creators would have me believe?

1. A white button-down shirt

Arguably the most chic and versatile wardrobe option for many women, I haven’t owned one since I had to as part of my school uniform. And yes, that is in fact WHY I’ve never owned one since. Without embarking on a dark path for a style post, suffice to say I HATED school – it was where my severe anxiety attacks started, and it was a total struggle for me to get through the days there. For me, putting on and buttoning up a plain white – or black – blouse just takes me right back to struggling to do so in my childhood because my hands were shaking with all the adrenaline in my system. I wear other, more casual button ups and it’s fine – but I think, at least for the time being, I’m going to have to skip out on the classic white option.

2. Ballet flats

I love ballet flats and I’m frequently drawn to looking at them in stores and online, but as far as actually owning or wearing them? Uh, no. I have very small, narrow feet – for reference I’m a UK 2, and most UK women’s shoes start in a 3. So, for a long time I just could not get nice, sleek ballet flats in my size so it wasn’t an option, now of course, there are a lot better options out there for us tiny-footed gals but, having spent my life up until this point walking around in mostly Converse or chunky boots, my feet object rather strongly to the thin, flat soles of ballet flats. I’m always on the lookout though so if anyone knows of a super-comfy pair that come in tiny sizes – let me know!

3. A trench coat

I actually did own a trench coat, once. It was in that classic beige colour, which washed me out completely, and it was always creased because I would never steam it and it would live in a scrumpled heap in my wardrobe. I’m sorry trench coats, it’s not you, it’s me. Being a little more colour-savvy and a little more familiar with my steamer these days I’m definitely open to trying a trench coat again at some point, but, given that I need to avoid the “typical” trench coat colour, and beware of the ones with giant buttons and lapels that will draw way too much attention to my large chest and short torso… yeah, suffice to say I’m definitely not yet sold on this being a “must have” piece.

 

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Photo by Jaclyn Moy on Unsplash

4. A white t-shirt

I am forever hearing people talk about how brilliant a white t-shirt can be; just throw it on with jeans and a blazer – use trainers to dress it down or pointed toe shoes to dress it up – and they’re right, it IS a great look, just not one for me. Generally, in fact, barring some fairly mad circumstances, I don’t shop fast-fashion, I buy basically everything second hand – and let me tell you, white t-shirts are not easy to come by in charity shops! Well, at least not in any sort of condition I’d like to wear – hello, yellow armpit stains. I guess the obvious other option would be to buy a great white tee from an ethical and sustainable brand, but, given the alarming frequency with which I drop pizza sauce down myself, I don’t think that would necessarily be a wise financial investment.

5. Heels

Growing up, I had the same struggles with heels as I had with ballet flats – trying to grip onto a pair of size 3’s with my tiny size 2 feet. But, I did own some, and when I was younger I did wear them to parties or whatever. As I got older though, I just enjoyed it less and less – I remember my Degree art show at Uni and wearing these lovely, knee-high suede boots with an amazing heel – looked great in the photos, but I spent most of the night hoping nobody would ask me to move. Now, I know that there are comfier heels than others, and I know some women seem to amazingly be able to get used to the sensation, but yeah, I guess I’m not one of those women. I kept some more classic pairs and moved them with me to Glasgow four years ago, then, recently, after finding them covered in dust in the back of the wardrobe, never having once been worn since we moved here, I cleaned them all up and sent them off to the charity shop.

So those are 5 wardrobe “essentials” that I don’t have in my closet! Like I said, I’d love to hear your opinion on whether these items are indeed “classics”? Or, what are the items that you, personally, couldn’t be without?

Print on Demand: June 2019 Update

Hi, friends.

Welcome to the June 2019 update post for my Print on Demand work. I post work to a few sites, including Redbubble, Tee Public, Society 6, Zazzle and Merch by Amazon – but in this update post I’m just going to focus on the three that do the best for me, as otherwise this post will end up being a novel. Also, just to add a disclaimer to this post – I am very new to print on demand, I’ve made a few sales, but I have a LOT to learn, so this post is more like a diary entry and much less of a how-to.

As I mentioned in my Etsy update post, June has been an a-typical month as I was out of the country for most of the time. Of course, the amazing thing about print on demand is that it is still working for me even when I’m 4,000 miles away from my laptop, but it does mean that I didn’t really spend any time putting up new work, or analysing any sales or lack thereof!

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Stats for various stores

  • Site name: Redbubble (TimorousEclectc)
  • Sales of all time: 40
  • Sales this month: 2
  • Listings added: 6
  • Listings total: 255
  • Profit this month: £1.88
  • Profit of all time: £15.65
  • Hours worked: 4
  • Site name: Tee Public (Timorous Eclectic)
  • Sales of all time: 35
  • Sales this month: 6
  • Listings added: 5
  • Listings total: 157
  • Profit this month: £16.60
  • Profit of all time: £83.00
  • Hours worked: 4
  • Site name: Society6 (Timorous Eclectic)
  • Sales of all time: 5
  • Sales this month: 0
  • Listings added: 2
  • Listings total: 130
  • Profit this month: £0.00
  • Profit of all time: £21.60
  • Hours worked: 4

Where am I at with the stores?

With Tee Public and Redbubble it’s the same few designs that sell for me over and over again – which in some ways feels good because I’ve obviously designed something well. It can also be a bit disheartening, because I uploaded those designs months ago and nothing else I add now seems to generate any sales, or even interest. Additionally, the designs that seem to work for me are simple text-based designs, and not the ones featuring my artwork. Don’t get me wrong, I love making text-based designs too, but I would love to develop my artwork design skills so that in time I can sell them more – but it’s hard to know where to start in terms of learning?

Society6 is totally different for me. I’ve only had a few sales there, but I’ve sold some higher ticket items like duvet covers – which is really, really exciting for me! I actually need to stop thinking of Society 6 as “another POD site” and do some more research into what works well there, and then start designing specifically for that site, I think.

Screenshot_2019-07-01 'Florida Theme Park Snacks - Hand Painted on Purple' Spiral Notebook by TimorousEclectc
This is one of the new designs I put up this month – can you tell I’m missing my Florida vacation?! This was also a return to uploading work painted with acrylics. I’m quite happy with how it turned out, but I know with practice I can do more with the style.

What’s going well?

Between the 3 sites, I do reliably make a little money each month. It’s not much, but it’s enough of a trickle to fill me with hope that this can go somewhere and grow into something. Quite a few of my design Pins on Pinterest get a lot of traffic and some click-throughs, which again, right now might not count for much, but shows me that I’m doing something right, and that if I keep working, things can grow. Basically I feel like I have a mountain to climb, but I do at least feel like I’ve found the start of the path.

What’s not going so well?

the trickle of sales is very much a trickle. I think a lot of that is my fault though – I think for a while I’ve sort of been cranking out quite a high number of designs basically on a whim of what I liked, and not spending enough time researching trends, what styles do well on the sites and things like that.

In my head I think I definitely lump all the POD sites I use together, but I think I need to rectify that and separate them out into totally different markets with different demographics.

What am I going to be spending my time on in July?

I think I’m in one of those situations where what I’m doing – cranking out a lot of designs – isn’t really working and I need to accept that and change tactic a bit. For July I’d like to invest time in really getting to know each site as an individual and to be able to better understand how to design for them. I want to look at what’s out there, how my designs fit in, and come up with a plan to tailor what I’m doing for that site in the future.

Screenshot_2019-07-01 'Love this Life - White Brush Lettering Motivational Quote' Acrylic Block by TimorousEclectc
One of the text-based designs I released this month – again, I feel like it might be more than a bit vacation inspired!!!

What goals am I going to report back on in the next update?

Rather than worrying this month about increasing income directly, I want to be able to sit here at the end of next month with a much better plan to guide me going forward. In literal terms, I want to take apart my “POD notebook” and start separating ideas, strategies and sketches out into site-specific notebooks. I’m naturally a very impatient person and I also generally learn best by doing, but making random designs and seeing what sticks is exhausting a bit disheartening. Obviously, not every design will sell and that’s to be expected, but I’d like to improve my ratio a bit at least and ensure that I’m creating portfolios full of work I’m proud of.

That’s it for this month’s Print on Demand Update – not super meaty this month as I haven’t been focusing a lot of time on Print on Demand in June. I’d love to connect with other people who sell on POD platforms – so if thats’ you, or if you have any questions in general, please come and say hi in the comments below!