Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Popping my Blogtacular cherry πŸ’

I've been promising a Blogtacular post since the event nearly two weeks ago (where has that time gone?) and I'm finally going to attempt to share some words and pictures with you to sum up my experience.

I could go on and on about what I took from the weekend as it was jam-packed and my mind hasn't stopped buzzing since BUT I'm going to focus on FIVE key things that really stood out in my list of many.

Image credit : Blogtacular


ONE : Blogtacular IS for you.

Last year I suffered from the biggest FOMO, seeing those I knew (insta-stalked) and admired on social media having what looked like the time of their lives at a blogging conference in London. Being rather fickle when it comes to blogging, and downright terrified of people reading my waffle and judging me left right and centre, I never saw myself as a blogger or worthy of being able to go to such an event.

The more I thought about it though, the more I found myself wondering why I had been telling myself that I couldn't go to Blogtacular. I find it tough but I do enjoy writing when I feel I have something I want to share, creativity is at the heart of all I do and I love being part of such a great creative community (online and in real life) so why wouldn't I jump at the chance to attend an event that brings all that together?

And the more people I spoke to who had been before or who were also interested in going seemed to have some of the same fears too, which helped give me the slap about the face I needed to realise I should take part. At the end of the day Blogtacular is an event to bring people with a passion for creativity, content and beautiful design together no matter what level you're at.

Which brings me to the first learning : You, (yes YOU!) can totally attend this fun-filled and truly inspiring event, whether you're completely new to blogging, just starting out, need a push or are already a professional blogger. If you want to learn more, be inspired by fellow creatives and surrounded by friendly faces then a ticket to Blogtacular IS for you.

Photo credit : Will Ireland and Mollie Makes.


TWO : It's OK to be scared.

This is strongly linked to my initial worries of being unable to attend Blogtacular in the first place. As well as feeling unsure about if I was 'a blogger', I was also scared. Terrified due to lack of self confidence, paranoia and anxiety - what a mix eh? But a mix I soon discovered was pretty common amongst those attending Blogtacular already - the facebook group, a few twitter convos I observed and a few chats with closer friends soon highlighted this and in some way reassured me.

Others can tell you not to be scared and that everyone is super lovely and it will all be ok but I know how hard it is to take that advice on board and chill the fuck out - it just doesn't work like that does it?

BUT having been, having experienced the fear/thrill/many toilet trips, I can confidently tell you, it really is OK to be scared and you will be fine because most people are in the same boat. From the incredible keynote speakers and those running the show to that lovely person standing next to you at the coffee machine - a lot of people are nervous or scared but I found that they were also open and honest about it.

The warmth and friendliness of the event and the content explored in the talks and workshops embraced this and I feel, really helped to bring people out of themselves and push a few personal boundaries throughout the day.

Photo credit : Emily Davidson

Through forcing myself out of my comfort zone I was delighted to meet and chat to so many friendly faces who I had been insta-stalking or had met briefly at craft fairs in the past. I have never been so scared to say "Hi, I'm Sunshine Jo - Hello Sunshine" before, but as awkward as it may be introducing yourself with your username it really does work and help to spark up fun conversations. I met so many lovely people, spoke to new faces, fangirled a bit (a lot) and even swapped a few cat pins and goodies with folk - all of which I was terrified of doing the night before.

Photo credit : Kat Molesworth and Mollie Makes.


THREE : You are enough.

Lisa Congdon's opening keynote speech was incredible. If you've read any other Blogtacular posts or were there yourself I'm sure you'll agree and know why. Lisa spoke openly and honestly about her experiences of imposter syndrome, burnout, vulnerability and discovering the need to readjust her work/life balance.

Image credit : Lisa Congdon

I got quite emotional during her talk, as did many who were sat their nodding along in awe. Lisa's words about this overwhelming fear we have of never being enough, saying yes to everything and feeling like we have to be busy to be worthy in life resonated deeply with me and my experiences over the past couple of years.

Image credit : Tara Rodden Robinson

I wrote about my own struggles with stress/anxiety and the impact it had on my health back in January (Time to Reflect) and to hear someone I admire speak so openly, in front of 300-odd faces (!) about similar, personal experiences was so moving.

The mini mantras that Lisa shared with us all were ones I whole heartedly agree with, from personally trying to say 'NO' more to keeping active. I find every one of these points incredibly important and relevant to my life...

MOVE EVERY DAY

WORK WITH SOMEBODY

IF IT DOESN'T MAKE YOU SAY "HELL YES", SAY NO

APPROACH EVERYTHING AS A BEGINNER

MAKE SPACE FOR RELATIONSHIPS

EMBRACE YOUR IMPERFECTIONS

Sharing these key actions as well as this brilliant manifesto by Jennifer Pastiloff, illustrated by Emily McDowell, addressed many of my own personal struggles and reminded me to make self care more of a priority again - it's so easy to slip back in to old, unhealthy work habits!

Image credit : Emily McDowell

Lisa's talk moved me so much I felt the strongest urge to track her down during the day and thank her. I did and it turned out that it happened in the loos by accident at the end of the day but we had a nice little chat about yellow accessories and the wonderful beads she was wearing which were made by my friend Amy Blackwell (double fangirl moment!!)

Photo credit : Will Ireland and Mollie Makes.


FOUR : It's OK to be a bit shit.

Kirsty Smith's workshop on Developing Content was both brilliant and funny! Leading with an inspiring quote from Maya Angelou we were thrown in to discussing ideas with our neighbours and appreciating how just openly talking about ideas can get things rolling.

"You can't use up creativity. 
The more you use, the more you have."

Photo credit : Will Ireland and Mollie Makes.

Following on with quotes from MC Hammer (Yup, you can't touch this!) and Alicia Silverstone, Kirsty's humour and advice about ways to kick start ideas and how to develop them made for a truly enjoyable session.


My cheeks ached from smiling and laughing so much and I came away with some great gems for getting ideas going, from making lots of lists to taking a particular idea on a run with you. My favourite quote from the session though (aside from MC Hammer obvs) was from Kirsty herself:

"Start off by just being a little bit shit"

Somehow hearing someone tell you that it's ok to be a bit rubbish at something to start with is immensely reassuring and is what I have been telling myself over and over again in the lead up to writing this post. If it's a bit shit, it's ok because I'll learn and then strive to write something better next time (or at least a little bit less shit maybe).


FIVE : You don’t have to chase everything.

The closing keynote talk was from possibly one of the coolest people I have ever been in the presence of. Edin Hwang was the 6th employee of Pinterest and the first women to work there when it started in a teeny tiny apartment 6 years ago.

Photo credit : Will Ireland and Mollie Makes.

To realise that Pinterest really is only 6 years old when it's a tool many of us use day to day now is truly remarkable and incredibly inspiring. Hearing Enid speak of those early days when her desk was next to a toilet (shared with 5 blokes! Spewk!) and about how far it has come through the determination, hard work and focus of the team was really interesting.

People in the industry dismissed the idea of Pinterest at first and investors shied away but the Pinterest team knew they were onto something and believed in their idea and product so never gave up. Hearing this at a time when I feel quite scared about the future and these early days of self employment has given me the kick up the bum I needed to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing/what I'm not doing and re-focus my energy.

Some of the key points Enid talked about, that I scribbled in my notebook and plan to work with included:

DEFINE AND FOCUS ON WHAT YOU WANT TO BUILD

HAVE A PROCESS TO DEAL WITH CHANGE

YOU DON'T HAVE TO CHASE EVERYTHING YOU SEE OTHERS DOING

YOUR TIME AND ENERGY ARE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT RESOURCES

Ending with Enid's focussed talk was the perfect way to end a jam-packed day and left everyone buzzing with a mix of excitement, inspiration and exhaustion.

It really was a truly brilliant couple of days none of which would have been possible without Kat, her left-hand lady Kelly and their team of volunteers. I can't thank Kat and her amazing team enough for their impeccable organisation and planning such a great event! Not only did it run like clockwork and pack so much in with photowalks and the West Elm party on the Friday, but we were in a top venue on Saturday with delicious foodie treats throughout the day (OMG the FOOD!) and we all received the most incredible goodie bag designed by mega talented helloDODO and designosaur at the end of it all.

Photo credit : Will Ireland and Mollie Makes.

So there you have it, my TOP 5 TAKE OUTS from popping my Blogtacular cherry. Although these are just my personal top take outs from the weekend (there was so much more!), I hope you found them interesting and if you'd like to see more of what I got up to over the two days then pop over to my Instagram (@sunshine_jo). Expect a mix of snaps from the Photowalk (east), a trip to the London Cat Cafe, some foodies shots, photobooth fun with favourite faces and general happenings from the weekend.



Photo credit : Mollie Makes

Photo captured by : Nina Gigante

If you're after more photos from the weekend make sure you check out the #Blogtacular hashtag that EVERYONE was using and if you'd like to read more then I highly reccommend checking out the following blogs:

Hello DODO
Twin Pines
Daphne Rosa
This Little Space of Mine
Mrs M Makes

...and Claireabellemakes who also made this awesome vlog...



If that's still not enough to persuade you to come along next year then there are many many more amazing blog posts on the Blogtacular Pinterest board so pop over, put the kettle on again and get involved!

Monday, 27 June 2016

Goals for the week ahoy...

Well hello there Monday, where did you sneak up from?


Toby Cat may not be ready for you just yet but we're back from a super fun-packed weekend and I am here to tell you all openly about my goal for the week ahead - my blogging goal that is. I have many more goals and to do list items but I won't spam you with everything in my head!


So with post holiday domestics done and another brew in hand, here are my blogging goals for the week ahead...

ONE
Share my bloody brilliant Blogtacular experience

TWO 
Introduce a new character/logo design created for a lovely client

THREE
Sneak a peek of the Sunshine Adventure doodle started in Wales

I think three posts is a big enough challenge for the next 7 days, especially for someone who's terrible at starting posts and actually publishing them when they were intended for! Ooops! But I hope you'll check back in to read my little updates and if you do, I'd love to know what you think and of course, if the subjects and content are of interest... feedback is golden after all!

Until then though, I'm off to finish my brew, tackle my inbox and start packing up your lovely Sunshine orders...

HAPPY MONDAY! 

Friday, 24 June 2016

Sunshine Adventures & Friday Sunshine ☀

Hello and HAPPY FRIDAY folks!

By the time you read this I should already be in Wales and hopefully en route to an old slate mine in Blaenau Ffestiniog to bounce around in caves full of suspended nets, ladders and slides as well as having a play on the largest zip zone in Europe! Eeek!

But more about that in my next Sunshine Adventures update, for now I am here to share a different adventure doodle with you all. One which was started back in April after a work weekend away at BCTF, when we camped next door to the Great Yorkshire Showground for my first ever Trade Fair.


Trade show cheesiness!

I will write a proper blog post about my experience at the trade show one day I promise! To be honest though, I think I'm still actually processing the rather full on weekend and weeks since! Nevertheless, we had a lovely time camping by the showground, not only was the campsite super close to the BCTF venue, it had a super snazzy (and CLEAN!) shower and toilet block as well as being peaceful and full of friendly faces.


Morning brews in the sunshine are the BEST!

The weather could have been nicer to us while we were there (it was bloody freezing one night!) but we had sunshine when we arrived on the Saturday and rain didn't kick in properly until our second night, so apart from being a bit chilly and a soggy pack up on Tuesday I think we were pretty lucky!


Can you spot the frost on the tent?


BCTF work aside we had a very nice couple of days camping here and when I started doodling I had to capture us both snuggled up in our super warm sleeping bags and as I didn't fancy drawing my trade show stand I figured a nice backdrop of our trusty tent, trees and our naughty snacks would sum it up perfectly...

illustration © Jo Want 2016

I hope you like it, it was fun drawing us both snuggled up like little grubs... or should that be bugs... snug as a bug isn't it?... anywho.... fingers crossed I'll be back soon with another Sunshine Adventure doodle full of this weekend's fun times! YAY!

Until then though, here's wishing you a great weekend and happy adventuring!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Makers Gonna Make...

I bloody LOVE this print by Claireabellemakes, it came in my Blogtacular goodie bag and today has been all about last minute making before I 'make like a tree and leaf' for a mini adventure to Wales! YAY!



This post is really just a quickie (over missus) to let you all know that your lovely orders will be packed and sent on Monday now and to wish you all a VERY happy nearly-weekend!


Have a good one, whatever you have planned and be sure to keep an eye on my instagram account (@sunshine_jo) if you’re after a bit of holiday spam… or if you’re after a bit MORE holiday spam, feel free check out my personal account (@jo_want)

Monday, 20 June 2016

Monday Sunshine ☀

Oops! Amidst all the travelling, excitement and giggles over Friday and the weekend with Blogtacular I completely forgot to share my usual Friday Sunshine post! Seeing as the weather is utterly rubbish this morning though I figured that a Monday Sunshine post might be more appropriate.. and better later than never right?

Amy contacted me a wee while back now about creating a special Sunshine for her Godmother's 40th birthday. Describing her Godmother as super cool, well dressed with two fun-loving little boys and living in Brighton I instantly got excited about what we would include in this Sunshine. After discussing locations, outfit and colours we came up with a plan and I couldn't wait to pick up my sketchbook and pencils, especially because I got to draw a landmark from one of my favourite places - Brighton Pier! 


It was a lot of fun working with Amy again and the finished doodle included Ella and her two boys, Arthur and George all standing on the beach in front of Brighton Pier. I'm so happy with how it turned out, the colours are so bright and cheerful and the best bit? I heard that the birthday girl was thrilled with her very own bit of Sunshine, which is ALWAYS the best feedback to get! 


As always, if you are interested in turning any of your loved ones (human beans or pets!) in to a Sunshine doodle please do drop me a note at bonjour[at]hello-sunshine.co.uk, I'd love to hear from you! 

Alternatively feel free to have a nosey through my albums over on my Hello Sunshine by Jo Want facebook page take in a bit more Sunshine and get some ideas like the portraits below...





HAPPY MONDAY EVERYONE!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Pre-Blogtacular excitment!

Eeeeeep! I'm all kinds of nervous and excited about going to Blogtacular this weekend! Not only will I be attending the full day's conference on Saturday but I was luck enough to get a place on one of the Photowalks TOMORROW and am going to the party at West Elm in the evening!

I may actually pop with anticipation and excitement! I mean just look at this jam packed schedule and keynote speaker info for Saturday...

all images : blogtacular.com


ARTIST, ILLUSTRATOR AND AUTHOR
KEYNOTE SPEAKER


COMMUNITY MANAGER
CLOSING KEYNOTE SPEAKER

AND check out the #Blogtacular and #Blogtacularphotowalk hashtags on Instagram to see ALL THE COLOUR AND FUN from people getting ready and excited for the weekend to past events and photowalk snaps!

Something tells me I'm going to need a lot of sleep and help to get through the days following Blogtacular... there's just SO MUCH to look forward to!


*pops with excitement*

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Belated Sunshine Adventures : Easter Camping trip

Crikey! How did we get so far through this year and so quickly? I'm a tad behind in my little 'Sunshine Adventures' series but I have still been scribbling away and even though it's June, I thought I would take you back a few months to March and the mini Easter adventure we went on.

It started with raiding my trusty terramundi pot, a mini peacan pie and a bus trip out to meet Will from near his workplace in Huntingdon...



We then drove up to the Lake District to a lovely little campsite called Lanefoot Farm, not far from Keswick. We arrived pretty late at night so it was super dark and it wasn't until the morning we discovered the lovely view and some sunshine.


The weather was forecast to be pretty rubbish over Easter weekend but on Good Friday morning we woke up to Sunshine and a much better report for the day, so we decided to head off out to make the most of the Spring sunshine. 

Originally we had planned to tackle Scafell Pike but as we had left it a little late to set off we opted to hike up a different mountain instead and headed to Helvellyn to walk the Striding Edge route. We drove to Glenridding taking in the views of Lake Ullswater en route before parking up in a small local carpark. It's such a beautiful place and as the hike uphill began, the views just kept getting better...




As we climbed higher and higher the temperature started to drop (as you would expect) and as we approached Striding Edge we found snow! I have to admit, I was pretty surprised to see snow, even though it makes perfect sense to find snow at the top of mountains. The wind was super chilly and clouds started to roll in so the raincoats came out and we marched on taking in the lovely snowy views and scrambling over rocks up towards the summit.




After scrabbling over some rocky 'pathways' and trudging through snow we reached the top where the wind was fierce but when the sun broke through the clouds it was lovely and warm. A bit of a surreal mix of weather but not enough to keep the silly smiles from our faces.



The path back down from the summit was actually covered in snow and pretty damn steep so it took a few well places snow steps made by Will (and a bit of bum sliding from me) to start our decent. It was a lovely walk down after the sketchy start though and as we looked back towards the mountain, we even saw some skiers trying their luck down the slopes.

When we returned to Glenridding after a few hours of walking we were super hungry so popped in to the local cafe where I was greeted with THE BIGGEST fish finger sandwich and a lovely hot brew. A perfect reward if you ask me. This photo does not do the size of the fish fingers justice - they were seriously about as long as my forearm! AMAZING!


We left Glenridding and took a slight detour on the way back to the campsite to The Bowder Stone. The boy is into his climbing and rocks and although I wasn't sold at first I have to admit this giant boulder was pretty impressive just stood alone in the surrounding woodland.



After a beautiful day with the weather on our side, we headed back to the tent for an evening of card games, vino and cheesy treats, not to mention a nice long sleep! Unfortunately the next day (Easter Saturday) the weather was not on our side and we woke up to a very soggy field and continuous rain. Still, this didn't stop us popping out to Keswick in search of a breakfast to battle the grey weather and boy did we find the perfect breakfast for a rainy day... bacon and blueberry maple pancakes! YES!



It was clear the rain had no intention of stopping so instead of hiding away, we decided to join it and headed out to Aira Force, a waterfall near Lake Ullswater. Well, when it rains it falls... and it was pretty darn beautiful!



After our soggy walk we headed back to the tent to get changed and assess our accommodation situation. The field was super soaked by then and with the rain getting heavier we decided to cut our mini trip short and head home. I was a bit sad but it was a sensible move and after I snapped a couple of cheeky photos of some neighbouring campervans we headed off back to Cambridge just before sunset.



Even though we were at home on Easter Sunday the camping didn't stop there as we spent the day snuggled up on the sofa with the kitties and our sleeping bags. A bit of indoor camping at it's finest!



It also meant I was able to enjoy my Easter treats and start my Sunshine Adventure doodle without cold feet, soggy paper or wet mini eggs! It certainly still felt like a holiday spending the day relaxing, watching films and eating good food with Will and the kitties.



So there you have it, a very late but hopefully enjoyable Sunshine Adventure update about our trip to the Lake District over Easter! Ooh and before I go I mustn't forget to share the finished Sunshine doodle with you too... I hope you enjoy both the read and the doodle!


Hopefully it won't be long before I get round to sharing the next update in the Sunshine Adventure series. The doodle was finished long ago and I just need to sit down and find the words to tell you all about my work based camping adventure to BCTF! YIKES! 

Thank you for reading and until next time... TOODLEPIP!