Sunday, 4 January 2015

This Week... #One

This week began with a fridge full of Christmas leftovers, a new phone that I had no idea how to work, a cat that decided that it now lived in the middle of the living room in a cardboard box and more varieties of chocolate than I could count - and I am so an A* in maths. The weather got colder than it has been in a while, with actual white frost and frozen hose pipes, and I got a tad obsessive about making sure that all of the outside animals are warm with big thick beds.

I kicked off the new year by dancing with a guinea pig to Adam Lambert and Queen, then watched the London fireworks on the BBC. I got a bit melancholy at seeing London - it's been just over a year since I moved to Cambridgeshire and I haven't been back since. But I cheered up when I realised that it was a brand new year and that I actually had a proper life plan for it this time.

I was also happy this week because I found a ton of cool new-to-me British blogs to read (and will be sharing my favourites at some point soon), and I decided to take part in Fat Mum Slim's Photo-a-day Challenge (#FMSphotoaday on Instagram) which I'm really enjoying so far!

Next week I have making and baking plans, exciting new designs to bring to life and thousands of words that need to be written! And lots of chocolate that totally needs to be eaten...

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Forrest Mush // The Shop

^^ That up there, ^^ is my favourite thing I've ever made. I loved Matt Smith's Doctor Who and I've still not quite let go of him. Sad face.

I have a little shop called Forrest Mush as well as this little blog. I've been selling bags and jewellery for a few months now but I got a few more orders than just the odd one here and there before Christmas and found myself really enjoying it, and this has spurred me on to actually try to make a go of this little hobby of mine.

I don't really have a set theme - I just make what I like and hope that other people will like them too. Most of the things I make are colourful, fun, cute or a combination of the three.

As I hope that I'll be spending more time this year on designing and making products for my shop I thought I might share those things on here, as well as how it's doing, my creative process and things I learn along the way that might help someone else thinking of doing the same thing. (I also hope I'll learn some things from others doing the same thing, so any tips are very welcome!)

Lately I've focused heavily on designing bags and sort of ignored anything jewellery, but I have lots of supplies sat in a box, unused and I really enjoyed making the pieces you see here so I want to start on a new batch of jewellery in the near future.

Saying that though, new bags will be first as I'v got a handful of new design files ready to print that I'm itching to see on bags! I'm just waiting for the plain bags to arrive (hopefully on Monday) so I can get making!

If you like any of the things you've seen or would just like to have a little peek (I would be super grateful if you did), you can find me on Etsy and Tictail.

Friday, 2 January 2015

How To Read More Books (Part 1)

Or how to be a reading ninja! Confession: For quite a large proportion of last year I was a bad, bad little read. I am one of those people that is always reading a book. I am also one of those people that binge-reads (totally real word) and have usually finished a book within a day or two of starting it. I'm like a drug addict or a dog left alone with a child's party spread - I can't resist and I can't stop until it's all gone (the words in the book, not the illegal substances or sausage rolls). Lately however life seems to have taken over a little and reading has been pushed down the list of 'things one must do before one drags oneself up the stairs, falls over a rabbit and collapses in the general vicinity of one's bed'. This does not make me happy.

At one point I was FOUR books behind on my Goodreads reading challenge which is unheard of - I'm usually ahead of the game on that. So, I made the concious decision to read more books. And being the list-maker and over-sharer that I am I thought I'd write a list of ways I (or you) could achieve 'many book reading prowess' and share it on the interweb. I've split it into three handy, dandy, bite-size segments because I may have come up with quite a few ways and know that if you're anything like me I probably only have your attention for approximately another 17 seconds before you start Googling 'cute baby animals wearing bowties' (or some such like). So, without further ado - the first seven ways (in no particular order) to read more books!

1.) Read what you like...
...not what you think you should like. Like, duh. I know this seems obvious but I bet you'd be surprised at how many people feel pressured into reading a certain book or genre. For years I thought I should (and should want to) read the classics - you know the Brontes, Jane Austen, and the like. But guess what? I have and have never had any desire or inclination to actually read them. They simply don't appeal to me and guess what again? That's completely okay. I like books about magic and murder and swoon worthy dudes. So they're the books I read and I'm pretty sure that I read ten times as much when I'm enjoying it than when I'm making myself read something that I don't like.

2.) Pick something highly rated.
Now, I'm aware that this sounds like a contradiction of my first point and I'm telling you to read what everyone else likes, but usually - obviously not all the time because some truly awful literature is insanely popular - but most of the time, books are popular because they're good. I look all books up on Goodreads before I buy/read them and it's very rare that I'll read a book that has a rating of under 3 stars. This may seem harsh but I figure that I'm just using my smarts and letting other people sort the cream of the crop for me so I (hopefully) only read good books.

3.) Pick an already completed series.
I read a lot of books. I have a short attention span. These statements do not make for a good result when I read the first book in a series and then have to wait nine months for the next one to come out. There are so many series that I've started and haven't finished simply because I've forgotten / lost interest because of the wait in between. Now it's very rare that I'll start an uncompleted series. And also, it means I can binge-read the entire series in under a week. If it's a good book you'll want to finish the series which means more books read but it'll feel like you've only read one.

4.) Find out how you like to read.
Computer? Kindle? Tablet? Or gasp actual paper book? I prefer the old fashioned way myself but I also like using a Biro instead of typing and talking on the phone to texting. Saying that, I read a large majority of books on my computer (because of the pennies peeps!). I cannot read on a tablet or my phone though - I just can't do it. Try a few and find out how you like to consume your books.

5.) Read a chapter a day.
This really helps because it's all about creating a habit. You brush you teethe every night without even thinking about it, right? Well, I hope you do but my point is that if you make yourself read at a certain point of the day, every day, you'll get into the habit of doing it and in the end you won't even think about not doing it.

6.) Keep track...
...of what you've read, what you want to read and what you liked and didn't like. In the past I have kept lists at the back of my notebook and on my computer. This helps because you don't have to search for the next book you're going to read - you just check you list and tick the next one off. And the list of books you've read mainly just makes you feel good about all of those books you've read but it's also good for remembering the authors that you like because you're likely to like another of their offerings.Now I've gone all technological and use Goodreads for all of my book based list making needs.

7.) Talk to other readers.
Want to gush about that book you loved or rant about that one that didn't? Who better to talk to than someone else who has read it and has as many feels as you do about it? Want to find a new read but don't know where to start? Ask someone else what their favourite book last year was. Just like most things, reading is better when you have someone to share it with. Let's be friends, best friends (FYI that's a quote and not me just being weird...)

So, there you have my first seven ways to read more! I hope they help if you're on a read-more quest and I'd love to hear if they do (or don't - you could always tell me how unhelpful they were here, here, here or down below). The next seven will be coming soon!

Oh, and for those of you worrying about my Goodreads challenge (because I was FOUR books behind) - it's all good. I totes caught up and kinda smashed it (even if I do say so myself) and finished the year having read over 70 books instead of the 52 I had planned to. (And I later realised I had actually never been behind - I had just forgotten to add them to Goodreads!)

Thursday, 1 January 2015

2015 is for...

2015 is for… doing things.

Yup, doing things. All of the things. 2015 is the year that things shall be done.

I feel like for a really long time life was full of crap. And then I moved (from London to what we shall affectionately call The Middle of Nowhere) and I think I thought that life would sort itself out It didn’t. There was a just another load of crappy life things that no one has any control over. Well this year instead of letting things happen I am going to do the things. Now, I know I can’t stop natural disasters or mystery illnesses and the like but I do have some control over myself, my life and where it’s going. So, in 2015 I am going to do the things that I’ve always wanted to and the things that I’ve never wanted to do but now sound kinda fun. And hopefully, blogging about them will be one of those things.

Things to do in 2015

Finish writing a book.
Publish said book
Call it a book in real life (opposed to mumbling out a string of nonsensical almost words when someone asks me what I’m doing)
Do a Crowdfunder for my children’s picture book about rabbits
Grow (I kind of hate that term but it’s the only concise one that I can think of) my Etsy shop
Keep up with my blog for the whole of the year (post every month, multiple times a month – blogging in January and October does not count)

Start schooling Fran (horse)
Ride Mushy (horse) more (maybe try to get a cart and harness and start driving him again)
Take Paddy (dog) with me more regularly (to feed rabbits/horses/to the field/nature reserve)
Get the rabbits new sheds and runs (so excited about this - really hope I can do it soon)
Move the guinea pigs into the big shed and new run

Develop a proper skincare // beauty routine
Paint my nails more than once in a year (seriously this is how often it happened this year – it’s because I live in the country now)
Look into Invisalign
Learn to drive
Bake once a week
Get involved with rabbit charities more
Decorate room
Go on a few dates (You are an adult now and it’s looking very likely that you’re going to be a crazy cat lady, but with a menagerie of animals instead just because you think you’re awkward and you don’t want to have to brush your hair and wear something other than the boots that you wear up the field)

Get out more (yes, I am aware how sad this is making me sound... sad but true...I blame working from home and the convenience of internet shopping)

I have high hopes for 2015 and everyone has permission to remind me of this (or kick me) when I threaten to throw myself on the floor and cry because I don't want to write/draw/talk to people/be a grown up any more.

Friday, 31 October 2014

How To Be One's Self

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. And if we’re being honest then I think it’s something that quite a lot of us struggle with. For a really long time I thought that I had no idea what I wanted to do, or be, or even really what I liked, and because of this I didn’t really have a sense of me.

Note that I said ‘thought that I had no idea’ because that’s the whole point really – I did know what I liked and what I wanted to do and be they're pretty much the same as now), I just didn’t think those were the right things. They weren’t the same as my friends or family, or what my teachers thought I should like/do/be and this made me question myself.

Then I found the internet. And everyone on the internet. I know a lot of people think that the internet is a really easy place to be fake and someone else, and they’re right but when that someone else is me then I think that’s totally okay. I found a whole bunch of inspiring weirdoes (I swear that’s a term of endearment) that were being nothing but themselves and doing everything that they wanted to do and liking whatever they wanted to like.

So, at the ripe ol’ age of twenty-one I’ve realised what I want to do and the person that I want to be. And I’ve also realised that it’s okay to admit to liking loving having a slightly unhealthy obsession with Harry Potter, and that instead of going out I’d much rather spend most Friday nights in reading books, in between talking to guinea pigs and having rabbits jump on me. And that looking like a twelve year-old is a good thing because in about twenty years time I am going to look awesome, and thinking that I have fat legs is fine because it’s not like it really bothers me because I dress like a boy anyway, and if on the odd day I want to wear a dress and lipstick then that’s fine too, because guess what self? No one really cares what you look like!

I guess that my point is that all that stuff is what makes me, me. And I quite like me. And I think my family and friends do to. You know who I don’t like though? That girl that said 'no' to every boy who ever asked her out because she didn’t think she was ‘good’ enough. Or that girl who wrote a hundred blog posts but deleted them all because she was worried what the internet would think. Or that girl who would duck out of every photo because ‘MY FACE!’. (I still do that last one, but nobody’s perfect.)

So, how did I come to this self-accepting happy place? I sat myself down and gave myself a talking to (yes, literally – I talk to myself you know.) Here's the gist of what I said;

Life is short – don’t waste it being someone else.

Try things – you never know, you might like them.

Talk to people – you won’t make super friends who you have tons in common with by avoiding eye contact and Twitter stalking.

Admit to liking what you actually like.

Say ‘no’ to doing things that you don’t.

Stop worrying about the future – your future husband/wife/many cats won’t care if you’ve never been drunk and spent a year of your life ‘liking’ cute animal photos on the internet and reading fanfiction.

Learn to like yourself – because you’re going to spend forever with you and no one will ever understand you better!

Friday, 27 June 2014

New to the Crew

(Apologies for the remnants of the old pig sties in the last two photos!)

This is Franny (rhymes with 'Barney'). She is a 6/7 year old, chestnut, Welsh Cob mare. I've had her three days and so far we're friends. She's not yet broken (breaking a horse is basically just training it to let someone ride it) so we'll see how long our friendship lasts once I start getting on her! She was bred by my uncle, so I am a little bias, (and because now she's mine) but I think she's beautiful! :)

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Fifteen Things About Me

1. That was my first ever selfie. (Not counting the blurry one of me spinning in a chair, taken in a mirror).

2. Photos make me uncomfortable, mainly because I've got blinking and pulling odd faces for no apparent reason down to a fine art.

3. Every time it storms (like today) I have the strange urge to run up an down outside.

4. I've read Harry Potter so many times that the books actually fell apart.

5. I've never not had animals. I'm that person that rings home (I'd only been gone one night) and asks about the animals before saying 'hello' to my mother.

6. I've never been drunk.

7. If there's chocolate in it, I'll eat it.

8. When I was a baby I was ginger, now the jury's out on what colour my hair is - it depends what day it is and the lightening ;D

9. I'm 5 foot & 2 inches tall.

10. I had to have my ears pierced twice because they did it wonky the first time.

11. I'm currently watching my dog lick my rabbit's face. This happens a lot.

12. I like the idea of make-up (and all that jazz) but I can rarely find the inclination to put on any more than a bit of mascara.

13. My favourite colour used to be pink, but only because I didn't know that pigs came in other colours. (I realllly wanted a pig.)

14. I was wrist-less (one was sprained and one was chipped) for about two weeks when I was fourteen because my horse slipped and rolled on me.

15. I like spiders. I get excited when I see a new one and usually follow them around for a while. I was sad today because I accidentally drowned one in the bath.