Kathleen Parrish

Kathleen is a musician and artist. Her work is talented and unique. I was lucky enough to have a little chat with her about her music and artwork. 

Hello Kathleen! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?

I'm doing great!

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I’ve been writing all my life, music, journalism, etc. I studied voice throughout early childhood up until two years ago with vocal teachers but have been training myself since then. More recently I’ve been refining my composition skills through schooling.

I adore your artwork and music. What inspired you to get into music and art?

Thank you! Music and art have always come as a pair for me. When I’m feeling the need to be creative yet don’t have a melody in mind, I turn to art which often inspires the musical side of my creativity to come out and vice versa. I think it’s important to let different creative aspects feed off each other to create more inspiration as a whole.

What were the major challenges in the early days?

Performing. I’ve never had stage fright but I often found myself worrying over how others would perceive me.

Who inspires your work?

I’ve always been a huge fan of Patrick Wolf. His ability to reinvent himself musically while still retaining his songwriting approach has definitely shaped how I view the necessity for change yet staying true to oneself. I like to change up who I listen to so I’m constantly taking in new inspiration. In the past few months I’ve been heavily influenced by Erykah Badu and Sigur Ros. Two entirely different styles but both super complex and interesting.

How would you describe your style?

I think both my music and art style have a lot of depth whether it’s lyrics or what you’re visually looking at. My music is very honest, driven and though it incorporates r&b and rock elements, it’s still very pop in my eyes. My art on the other hand is more dream oriented, colourful yet simple. 

What do you enjoy most about art and your music?

The opportunity for expression and growth.

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?

I’ve been able to connect with so many amazing people! I mainly use Instagram and I’ve met tons of other musicians, fans and artists because of it. Aside from promoting my own creative endeavors, social media allows me to connect with and be inspired by other creatives I’d otherwise never know of.

What's been key to achieving your goals?

Patience! It’s easy to get caught up in thoughts like “why am I not here or there yet?” but success and opportunities takes time.

Do you have any career plans for your music?

Other than my solo work, I’d love to write for more artists going forward. Writing is my first passion; performing has always come second.

What do we hope to see this up and coming year for your Facebook page and music?

I’ve been working on new songs; one that I would like to record as a single within the next year so that will be exciting!

Do you have any advice for anyone going into music or art?

Give it time. The more you practice, perform, paint, whatever, the easier it gets. Make friends with other likeminded people, and be genuine about those friendships.

What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?

I’m not sure if it’s really creative advice, but it’s allowed me to pursue my creativity fuller. My boyfriend has really inspired and encouraged me to just let go without the fear of judgement others’ may have. It’s taken a long time but by allowing ourselves to create without fear it opens an endless world of creative possibilities.

Please make sure to check out her wonderful website http://www.kathleenparrish.com. She is always updating with gorgeous paintings and music. 

Saffy Says

Saffy is a blogger and Instagram addict. She has a love for photography and fashion, whilst creating her blog posts and YouTube videos. I was lucky enough to have a little chat with her about her career plan and blog.

Hello Saffy! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you? 

Heya, Ah no worries at all, I’m really happy you’re interviewing me! And i’m very well thank you.

I adore your blog posts. What inspired you to create your blog? 

Aw thank you so much! Well a few years back I started to evolve my style more and I started watching a lot more fashion Youtubers, so I was feeling a lot more inspired. I remember my friend asking me if I was a blogger as she saw my Instagram. Before then I never really thought about creating my own blog but after that I really grew on the idea of creating SapphireSays.

Why did you choose Sapphire Says as the name? 

Well, it’s funny because I remember sitting in my bedroom writing down a variety of ideas for names and my brother ran into my room and was like SAPPHIRE SAYS.. you know like Simon Says and as soon as I heard it I thought that was the perfect name for my blog.

Why did you choose a handwritten title for your blog? 

I’m not sure really, I guess it kinda makes it more personal rather than making my blog look professional.

What is an important design element to have for a blog? 

For me I like simplicity and minimal style but I think it’s different for everyone, you just have to link it to your style and make sure it influences that.

What equipment do you use for your photography and YouTube?

I usually use my Canon 600D and standard 50mm lens, however now and then it will be different as a lot of my friends are photographers so they would use their own cameras to take pictures.

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?

Personally I think Instagram and Twitter has been the most important platform to use as it allows you to interact with other bloggers and become part of the blogging community.

Who inspires your blog and YouTube?

I think definitely Samantha Maria, especially as she was the first fashion/beauty blogger that I started watching another blogger that influences me would have to be SunbeamsJess, I am in love with her personal style, it’s literally goals haha! 

What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for both your YouTube and Blog? 

I am hoping to do a lot more beauty and lifestyle posts as that is something I am lacking and would love to share, also uploading a lot more regularly. I haven’t posted as much as I wish due to college and not having enough time, but as soon as I finish for summer, I will be posting all the time! 

When did you start getting into fashion?

I think i’ve always liked fashion but I mainly started to grow a passion for it from the end of secondary school to the beginning of college, that was kinda the main stage where I was finding my personal style.

Have you always been into fashion and photography? 

Definitely, although when I was younger I was a lot more into filmmaking, making my own videos, that was all I ever did!

What are your favourite pieces of clothing?

Ooh, this is always a really hard question, but anything denim is definitely a winner!

What could you not live without? 

Probably my camera, I don’t know what I would do without it or Spotify, what is life without my favourite playlists!

Do you have any career plans? 

I’m not sure, I ask myself this question nearly everyday, but at the moment I enjoy doing fashion photography and I feel that is something I am good at. But who knows, maybe soon I find myself wanting to do something completely different?

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to set up their own blog and YouTube?

I would say always be yourself, that is such an important element to your channel/blog, that’s what people are mainly attracted to is your personality! 

Make sure to check out Saffy Needham on both YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. Not forgetting her blog Saffy Says. There are always dreamy posts about fashion, photography and quirky YouTube videos. 

Molly Louise Card

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Molly Louise Card is an aspiring illustrator, with a love for design and art. Her dream is to have her own sweet little studio and sell her designs on Etsy. I was lucky enough to have a little chat with her about her career plan and illustrations. 

Hello Molly! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?

I’m feeling fantastic, excited to be talking to you!

I adore your work. What inspired you to start doing illustrations?

Well thank you, I think I’ve always been a creative person. I can’t say I was ever very academic at school so I used to draw and read a lot in my spare time, and I haven’t stopped since. I decided to go to UCA Rochester to do a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design not knowing where it would take me, but it got me excited about what I could be doing with my life.

Have you always been into illustrations, design and art?

For as long as I can remember. I used to create my own drawings of characters in books. However I didn’t always know that I wanted to focus in illustration. Half way through my course at college I thought about going down the route of publishing or fashion promotion, but then when we had to choose a pathway to go down, I chose fine art and started doing illustrations.

How has your creative process changed since the start?

Back in college I didn’t really like using too many different mediums and if I had a go to tool it would have been my watercolour palette, I loved the idea of traditional illustration so that’s how I tried to approach my work. Now going into my third year at university, I have barely touched my palette and try to experiment with different creative processes.

What equipment do you use for your work?

Currently I use a lot of Posca pens and fine-liners. I am also dabbling in digital art, I started to get the hang of using a Wacom graphics tablet and it is something that I’d possibly like to keep working with.

What tools or materials could you not live without?

My sketchbook, Posca pens and a black fine-liner. They are currently what I’m enjoying the most when it comes to creating work.

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?

I am absolutely in love with Instagram. I probably spend too much time on it but it is just a fantastic way of getting your work out there to the masses and keeping up to date with other artists work. It’s also a great way to make contacts that I could maybe collaborate with, or just make friends with!

Who inspires your work?

I am inspired by a lot of different artists. I wouldn’t say that I have a definitive style at the moment so I love looking at a lot of different work to see how far I can take my creative process. I really love artists such as Sarah K Benning, Laura Berger, Sarah Abbott and Gem Rose. They all have Instagram so I would really recommend looking them up.

Do you have any favourite pieces of artwork or illustrations that you adore at the moment?

I love every single piece that Phoebe Wahl does. They are the most beautiful illustrations, she uses paint and collage and they are so detailed. I hope to own a piece by her one day. She has a piece called “Dream” which is possibly my favourite. It’s on her website www.phoebewahl.com, check it out!

What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Facebook page and Tumblr?

As I am now going into my third year at university it means it’s dissertation time. For my dissertation I am looking into “how natural forms influence designers and how they can be incorporated into textile design”, so most of the work I post will be in relation to this. I want to experiment with different paints and also embroidery and knitting. I also want to be creating some digital work, whether it be relatable to this project or not. Who knows, maybe I’ll have some side projects going on too.

Do you have any career plans?

I plan on being a freelance illustrator and having my own business. These aren’t immediate plans as I know it can be difficult to get businesses off the ground. I think for starters I want to have a studio space where I can be creating work that I can sell on online platforms such as Etsy UK, and I can get my work out there and meet people at art and craft fairs such as Renegade Craft Fair, Brighton Etsy Market, and eventually maybe East London Comics & Arts Festival and Pick Me Up Graphics Festival.

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to set up their own Facebook page or Tumblr?

Post regularly. Truthfully I need to get better at this myself, but if you are constantly posting work then it’s more likely to be seen by a lot of people and you can get feedback from your peers and people from the public.

Do you have any advice for designers and illustrators?

My best advice would be to be constantly creating work. It will get you into a good habit and it will improve your skills. Practice makes perfect, or at least it leads to more ideas!

What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?

One of my old tutors said you should always take a sketchbook and a camera with you wherever you go, and if you’re not creating work every day then you need to ask yourself why. It’s the best advice that I’ve been given, and now I’m passing it onto everyone.

Make sure to check out Molly Louise Card on Facebook and her Instagram 'mollylouisecard'. There are always exciting updates, quirky pictures and illustrations. Not forgetting an endless amount of plants.

 

Keep updated

If you cannot find me on Twitter or my blog, why not follow me on Instagram. I am constantly posting updates on my fashion, design work and of course my addiction to vintage. Just simply search Rhiannon Britten. I am currently posting new updates for my shop and exciting new marbling ideas for notebooks. Interested? Why not follow.

Paige Leanne

How amazing are these Rainbow Coaster trainers from Gola! I was super lucky to be sent these pre release a few weeks ago and I love them. They’ve now gone live online so all you lovely people can buy them and have rainbow shoes too! I’ve chosen to wear them with my favourite dress, it’s a thin viscose mustard yellow fabric with black outlined flowers. I bought it from forever 21 a few years ago. It fits really well and I always feel great it in, which brings me to the topic of this blog post ‘feeling comfortable in dresses’.

I have always and will always love dresses and skirts, I’ve only started wearing jeans commonly in the past year. Whilst at uni/sixth form I would never wear trousers or jeans because I used to not feel comfortable in them where as I’d always feel much more confident in skirts and dresses. I think finding a fit that suits you really helps. For example, I look awful and I mean really awful in midi or maxi dresses. I’m not sure why it doesn’t work but I look like a curtain, because I’m so tall they always hit me in the wrong place and make me look like some sort of frumpy maid. So I always stick to mini dresses, I may flash my bum as I walk up the tube escalator in my short skirts but oh well it’s only a bum.

 

When I’m looking for a new dress, bum to waist size ratio is a must. For my boob and waist size I have rather large hips so tight fitting dresses aren’t great and don’t make me feel great as they’ll be tight over my bum and baggy at the waist. Meaning a don’t feel confident at all. Whereas A line dresses suit most people as they float over the hips and are snug on the waist, this is a style I stick to most. Wrap dresses are everywhere at the moment and although I’m yet to buy one, they’re so great as you can cinch yourself right in at the waist which is such a plus if you’re bigger on top or on bottom.

Fabric is also something I think lots about, I really like viscose, cottons and fabrics that float. Studying fashion and being obsessed with fabrics means I’m constantly feeling textures and always read the composition whether I’m in store or online.

 

Although I’m very grateful for my long legs it can be so tedious when it comes to dresses, which does pull on my confidence. Finding dresses that cover my bum enough is a task! Having petite friends means I often hear they have the opposite issue, I think unless you’re the average woman height, you’re going to struggle!

I think a big thing when it comes to wearing dresses and feeling confident and comfortable is sexism. I wore this exact dress once whilst walking to the tube station (a 12minute walk) and got beeped/whistled/shouted at 8 times by middle aged men, whether that be walking past, driving past or builders. I strongly hate being cat called and always shout back or give them the finger as it’s appalling and incredibly disrespectful when it happens. After that, the whole day I was paranoid I was giving off some sort of ‘hooker’ vibes, obviously that wasn’t the case but I just felt dirty all day long. If anyone ever gets cat called, always stand up for yourself! Men that think they have the right to call you out for wearing a goddam skirt is disgusting!

On a more happy note, dresses are for everyone! Any size height shape, they can be super feminine or totally bad ass. I’m such a lover of dresses and especially when the weather is so beautiful as it is now! Get ya legs out!

White denim jacket – M&S

Dress – Forever 21

Trainers – Gola

Have a lovely week and enjoy the sunshine!

Paige x

Liz Seabrook

Homebaking isn't about perfection; it's about making something to share, taking time away from a screen or just satiating that need for something sweet without spending £3.50 on a single muffin.

For this Recipe Friday, our lifestyle editor Liz Seabrook picked some rhubarb from the garden and made a birthday cake for her mum with the things she could find in the kitchen cupboards and the garden. And don't worry, she didn't mind the slightly singed sugar one bit.

Ingredients
150g salted butter, at room temperature

50g golden caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp

2 medium eggs

200g ground almonds

finely grated zest of 1 orange

100g Doves Farm gluten free* self-raising flour (or normal SR Flour)

1 tsp baking powder

400g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 4cm lengths (cut in half lengthways first if very fat)

2 tbsp flaked almonds

Method
1  Preheat the oven 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Grease a 22cm springform tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.

2  Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and cream together with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until creamy. Add the ground almonds and orange zest, sift over the flour and baking powder and mix well.

3  Spoon half the mixture into the tin, carefully spreading it right to the edges. Arrange just under half the rhubarb on top, keeping it away from the edges of the tin. Sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of the extra sugar.

4  Spoon over the rest of the cake mixture, then spread it to cover the rhubarb. Arrange the rest of the rhubarb on top, in a circle, filling in any gaps (keeping it away from the edges). Scatter over the flaked almonds and sprinkle with the remaining extra sugar.

5   Bake for 1 hour until golden, cover with a tent of foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes until firm to the touch in the middle. Leave in the tin to cool before transferring to a wire rack. If not serving warm, allow to cool completely.

We recommend serving warm with a drizzle of ginger syrup and maybe some icecream! Mmmm YUM!

Recipe adapted from Sainsbury Magazine to be gluten-free using Doves Farm gluten free self raising.

@ohcomelymag

www.ohcomely.co.uk

1999 magazine

1999 magazine was recently set up by Ruby, an aspiring photographer. 1999 is a great new magazine that celebrates creativity. I was lucky enough to meet up with her to have a little chat about her magazine and her career plans.

Hello Ruby! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?

I’m good thanks, just trying to get through exams!

I absolutely adore your magazine. What inspired you to create your magazine?

Thank you! I decided to start the magazine just over a year ago, as I’m very easily distracted. I was meant to be revising for my GCSE’s, but suddenly got the idea to start a magazine. I don’t really know what inspired me to start 1999 but I loved Oh Comely magazine and I followed so many talented people on Instagram. Many of the magazines you see on shop shelves are the same and I wanted to create something different.

Why is this magazine important?

1999 is a platform for people of all ages and from all parts of the world to share their creativity and by doing so, I want to encourage others to celebrate their creativity.

Why did you choose 1999 as the name for your magazine?

There’s not really a story behind the name of the magazine other than it’s the year I was born. 1999 was the first name I came up with and I always intended to change it but for some reason it stuck.

How has Instagram and Facebook helped with 1999?

Instagram has definitely had a huge impact on the magazine. Without it I definitely wouldn’t have started the magazine. Instagram allows me to find contributors for the magazine from all around the world and social media in general has allowed me to spread the word about the magazine.

What does creativity mean to you?

It can be anything that you want it to be. Whether it’s starting a band and writing songs or picking up a camera and taking photos. Whether it’s starting an online shop or writing a poem. You can express your creativity in endless ways, so just do it!

Do you have any career plans?

I don’t really have any ‘plans’ but I would love to carry on with photography, as there’s just something about it that I love! I would also love to continue with 1999 to see if it goes anywhere, you never know!

What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your magazine?

I’m currently working on issue 3 of the magazine and I have found some amazing new contributors and also have a few really interesting interviews. I don’t have much else planned but I would love to do a pop up shop or have a 1999 meet up!

How would you describe your magazine?

I like to think that it’s fun and creative! It’s a mix of work, which includes photography, music, illustrations, interviews and much more!

Who inspires 1999?

No one specific, mainly the people I follow on Instagram and to some extent the music I listen to.

Do you have any advice for designers who would like to set up their own magazine?

I think the best way to be able to set up a magazine (or something similar) is to build up a support base through social media. It’s also important to offer something unique about what you’re doing.

Make sure to check out 1999 on Facebook and Instagram ‘1999_magazine’. If you are dying to buy the magazine or lovely merchandise, make sure to check out the website. Just search 1999 magazine. There are always exciting updates, quirky pictures and call outs for contributors. If you would like to contribute for the next issue of 1999, make sure to contact Ruby either through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. 

Sarah Britton

This week’s recipe, slightly tweaked, comes from My New Roots and is a big bowl of spring wonderfulness, sure to leave you feeling like a daisy.

Spring Abundance Bowl
(Serves 4)

Ingredients

125g quinoa, soaked if possible

1 tsp. sea salt

1 bunch asparagus, approx. 20 spears

250g shelled peas: frozen are fine if, it’s what is available to you

2 spring onion

1-2 ripe avocados

Sprouts of your choice: I chose pea sprouts, but any kind will work

1 lemon

Dill dressing: chop dill, mix into natural yogurt, voilà!

Pickled veg, if they’re in the cupboard

Method

1  Rinse quinoa well, drain and add to a pot with 1 ¾ cup water (2 cups if not soaked) and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer until water is absorbed, 15-20 minutes. Zest 1 lemon into the pot, fluff with a fork and set aside.

2  While the quinoa is cooking, prep the vegetables. Grill or steam the asparagus. Shell the peas (if you want to steam them, add them to the pot of quinoa 3-4 minutes before cooking time is up). Slice avocado and spring onion. Mix your dill and yogurt together, squeeze some lemon in if you’re feeling zesty.

3  To serve, place ¼ of the cooked quinoa in a large bowl, add all veggies as desired, including some pickled veg if you’ve got them, drizzle with dressing and a squeeze lemon juice. Season to taste. Enjoy.

@ohcomelymag

www.ohcomely.co.uk

Kate Rolison

Kate Rolison is a vintage addict with a love for embroidery and design. I was lucky enough to have an interview with Kate about her work. 

Hello! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?

A little tired from a busy week/end, very relaxed.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I'm proudly born and bred in Walthamstow, North East London, birthplace of designer, socialist, and founder of the arts and crafts movement, William Morris. I studied a very obscure and no longer existant degree at Dartington College of Arts, on a course which involved spending long periods of time inside a tree, amongst other things. I learned traditional embroidery techniques at the Royal School of Needlework in Hampton Court Palace. I work with young people with disabilities who amaze and inspire me on a daily basis, and I own too many plants.

Describe your style.

I'm straight out of 1965, but I ocassionally dip into 30s - 70s fashion and am into Doc Martens. I am the Queen of Crimplene.

I adore your work. What inspired you to start doing textiles, sewing, embroidery and design?

I think I was always into colour, pattern and texture. When I was little I read a very interesting book (I haven't been able to find it since) in which one of the characters made a landscape out of fabric, and was able to magically enter it as a real landscape. For my Christmas present that year, my Grandma cut up an old midnight blue velvet dressing gown for me to use as the night sky. My Mum then made the landscape to my exacting specifications! My grandparents had it framed and it's now hanging above my bed.

I had a psychotic episode just before my second year of university, and wanted to be creative in my first week of recovery, but couldn't manage much. My Dad bought me a handpuppet kit from Wilko to make for my little cousins. When I had made them, I wanted to keep stitching - and the rest is history!

Have you always been into textiles, sewing and design?

I made a dress based on the Amazon rainforest for my Textiles GCSE, with hand printed unfurling fern designs hand embroidered with sparkling threads, and a skirt made from silk petals. My first ever couture creation was made with my little brother from a black bin bag and hot pink feathers - so I would have to say yes!

How has your creative process changed since the start?

I use an embroidery hoop now - my first efforts in my recovery from being ill were horribly puckered! I also try to draw more, despite being terrified of doing so! Having a digital drawing tablet (Windows Surface Pro 4) has helped immensely!

What tools or materials could you not live without?

Needles, evidently (though I lose them daily and scratched my face with one I'd popped in the sleeve of my dress earlier today!), embroidery hoops as mentioned above, 60s and 70s fabric, my needle case, my little Japanese lady scissors from Tiger.

Who inspires your work?

Louise Bourgeois, incredible textiles artist and explorer of the psyche, Joanna Newsom for her loquaciousness, and the authors of the Jolly Pocket Postman.

Do you have any favourite pieces of design work or textiles that you adore at the moment?

My vintage folk art quilt I found on eBay - it's mad, covered in badly embroidered puppies, a house, horses - you name it, it's on there!

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to start doing embroidery?

It will help you to relax, but only if you're not too precious about it. And, if in doubt - you only need back stitch!

Do you have any advice for designers?

I am most certainly not a designer, just a very scruffy DIY artist - my advice to designers is ask a designer!

Why is craft important to you?

Because it means clever, skilled, witchy - I adore its etymology.

You currently run various workshops and a craft club in Walthamstow. What was the reason behind setting up Object Book?

To have a physical space for our workshops and build links with the Walthamstow community.

Why did you call it Object Book?

Because we (and especially Chloe Spicer, our founder) are interested in books, and not necessarily just reading them - but also books as objects, as ingestible and absorbable, danceable, huggable.

How has this helped your creative process?

It's given me permission to really go wild with my work - and given me permission to stop asking permission, and trust my ideas!

What are you currently working on?

A Choose Your Own Adventure Quilt (remember Goosebumps books - to enter the dark forest, turn to page 14, to cross the swamp, turn to page 32?), a series of hand embroidered blouses - one for each season, shot on location... a million other projects are percolating away.

Do you have any career plans?

The word "career" scares me. Plans scare me. I'm a bit of a will of the wisp.

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?

I've made some wonderful friends and been afforded some brilliant opportunities; I can't imagine I would get much work without it!

What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Instagram?

Hopefully (fingers and toes crossed and double crossed) the beginnings of an embroidered graphic novel about my journey to recovery and how stitching saved me.

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to set up their own Instagram?

Be yourself; be truly yourself, and you'll bloom.

What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?

I met Gareth Brookes, creator of (I think) the world's first hand embroidered graphic novel, The Black Book, at DIY Cultures Festival at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green. I told him I didn't feel I was really getting anywhere with my art, and he said "Just keep doing what you're doing - I did". So I have!

You can follow Object Book through Facebook and you can find this lovely lady on her Instagram. She is always posting vintage clothes, crafts and her love for plants. 

Paige Leanne

Here I am, once again in an outfit that is predominantly red. Over the past year I have totally fallen in love with anything that is pillar box red. Whether that be this dreamy suede jacket, jeans, dresses, lingerie, nail varnish or lipstick. As soon as I see something red I’m always thinking ‘I must have it’.

Since bleaching my hair light blonde (around a year ago) I think wearing red suits me a lot more. My natural colour is a dark blonde mousy colour (pretty much the colour of pond water) which is very dull and mundane. Being blonde definitely jazz’s my outfits up and makes them more vibrant, especially when it comes to red. I feel confident in red and would happily wear red every day for the rest of my life. It’s nice to find a colour that suits your skin tone and you know will look nice on you without trying it on. My skin is very pale and I get red very easily so that might be why red clothing works. I also find that if I wear nail varnish that isn’t a shade of red it makes my skin look so pale and gross.

Carolina shot these near Mile End last week. Amazingly, although it was raining you can’t see in these photos, so lets all just imagine the weather was as glorious as it currently is. Saying this, my poor red suede jacket does seem to bring me bad luck as almost every time I wear it, it rains. I’m often caught in just a t-shirt/top in the rain with this jacket in my bag in fear of it getting ruined. When you’ve bought something vintage/one off you definitely feel a real need to look after it as you know it can’t repurchase, so I have sacrificed being wet for this jacket many a time.

My top is from Bershka that I bought on a recent shopping trip to Brighton. I was after a white / off white button down top as I wanted something that could go easily with jeans, but wasn’t a t-shirt. I found this and thought it was adorable, its a crinkled crepe fabric and luckily doesn’t shrink in the wash! Paired with my usual tailored Levi 550’s and heeled espadrilles from Banyan. Topped off with my usual jewellery pieces: St Christopher necklace, Amythest Rock N Rose Ring, Daniella Draper engraved ring, dolphin ring from Australia, two of my mums rings and my Timex watch, all of which I wear every day.

Thank you to Carolina for the photos and I hope everyone has a lovely sunny weekend!

Paige x

Keep updated

 

 

If you cannot find me on Twitter or my blog, why not follow me on Instagram. I am constantly posting updates on my fashion, design work and of course my addiction to vintage. Just simply search Rhiannon Britten. I am currently posting new updates for my shop and exciting new marbling ideas for notebooks. Interested? Why not follow.

Holly Steele

Holly Steele is currently in her last year of university and lives in Cumbria. I was lucky enough to have an interview with Holly about her fashion and style.

Hello! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?

I'm good thank you lovely, I've just finished my third year uni exams so finally free!

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I was brought up in Carlisle, Cumbria but I'm currently a third year law student at the University of Leeds.

Describe your style.

I like to think my style is quite minimalist, very smart casual. I love simple, good quality pieces that can be dressed up or down.

When did you start getting into fashion?

I've always loved fashion but when I was younger I was one of those people who thought everyone was judging me based on my fashion sense. Since I moved to Leeds three years ago I've become much more experimental with my style (it's such a fashionable city!)

Where are your favourite places to shop?

I love Zara and Topshop. The dream is to be able to have enough money to kit my wardrobe out in cos, whistles and folk! There are very few charity shops in Carlisle, but I pick up a lot of second hand off eBay and Depop.

What inspired you to get into vintage fashion?

The classic timelessness of the items! There's nothing worse than spending a fortune on items that are 'in fashion' to not be able to wear them two months down the line.

Do you think it is an important aspect to make your own clothing?

It's crazy that you ask that, I was looking the other day at dress-making night courses for when I finish university! There are so many times I have had a perfect idea of what I want in my head and can't find it, or would like to make a cheaper copy of a higher end designer item. It makes each item unique and personal too.

Do you have any tips for anyone shopping in vintage and charity shops?

As I mentioned before, Carlisle isn't blessed with the best charity clothes shops! But we have many vintage fairs in Leeds which I love. I'd say to take your time looking around and be open minded towards items. Also if you buy something rather unique, treat yourself to something to match!

Why do you think charity shops are an important place to shop for clothes?

They're extremely important. When I have more time after my exams I can't wait to venture around Cumbria and explore the different charity shops. Not only are you getting unique items, you're giving to a valuable cause! I also have a growing vinyl collection which I can't wait to expand from charity shop purchases.

Your style is very unique and wonderful; how do you go about styling different clothes?

Thank you, that's so kind! Most of my clothing is monochrome, so most items match automatically. I always try to have a statement bag (I recently bought a pony hair leopard print bag which I love!). Keep the outfit simple and accessorise well.

How did you go about finding your own style?

In all honesty, it's only been the past few years that I have truly found my own style and felt comfortable in my own skin. A lot of that came naturally with growing confidence after moving away to university, and taking inspiration from Instagram.

Have you always been into fashion?

I have always loved fashion, yet I was admittedly quite lazy with my style when I was younger. The last few years have encouraged me to experiment with fashion more and have the confidence to wear the clothes I'd always admire for afar.

What new pieces have you picked up for this winter and spring that we haven't seen on your Instagram yet?

My New Years resolution this year was to not wear black 24/7. I have recently purchased a pair of high waisted, pastel pink, tailored trouser from Topshop (bargain at £25!) and I have been wearing those with everything. I love all of the embroided pieces that are about at the moment, they're so pretty. A few of those will definitely been purchased when I get paid.

What are some of your current fashion obsessions?

I never really seen the point in bodysuits when they first came out, but I'm obsessed with them now! They're so so flattering and you don't have to worry about tucking your top on every two seconds. I also love statement boots. I bought a gold shiny pair around Christmas time which I'm still obsessed with.

What are your favourite pieces of clothing?

It may be a little boring, but I couldn't be without my trusty leather jacket. I throw it on with about 90% of my outfits. I also have a faux fur leopard print coat too which is like my child. I almost can't wait for winter so I can start wearing it again! 

What could you not live without?

Fashion-wise, it would be my black high waisted jeans and my trusty Fred Perry polo. In life, it would have to be strong coffee and dry shampoo!

Do you have any career plans?

I'm currently applying for training contracts to become a solicitor, so fingers crossed!

Do you have a favourite fashion magazine?

Harpers Bazaar is a constant go-to, the photography is always so beautiful too. I also love Chiara Ferragni's 'The Blonde Salad' blog and Instagram, she's incredible.

Who was your first style icon?

Alexa Chung is absolutely beautiful, so cool and insanely stylish. I love how she always appears to just throw an outfit together and it works so well. I really admire Lucy Hale's fashion sense too.

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?

Instagram has been amazing for gaining feedback from others, and also to explore other people's fashion tips.

What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Instagram?

I'll be free from university work so I intend to take a lot more fashion related posts. I'll also be back in Cumbria too so I'm hoping to get out in the Lake District more with my camera.

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to set up their own Instagram?

I'd honestly say to just be yourself. Keep it natural and post things that make you happy. Then you will attract the crowd with similar interest, and you can gain inspiration from each other. It's. It about trying to get as many likes as you can, it's building common connections.

What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?

It sounds cheesy, but be confident! I struggled a lot with my body image when I was younger, and my Mam always told me to be confident and move out of my comfort zone. Since my confidence has built over the last few years, my fashion has changed so much as I am no longer worried about what people think of me. Be daring, be yourself, and feel comfortable in your own style!

You can find this lovely lady on Instagram. She is always posting wonderful photographs and fashion. Photography contribution by the wonderful Louisa Hall. 

Amy Wells

Amy Wells currently studies in London, with a love for fashion. I was lucky enough to interview Amy about her fashion and how she styles clothes. 

Hello! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?

Hi! I’m doing well thanks, just finished my first year of university and looking forward to a summer at home.  

Tell us a little bit about your background.

Growing up in a small town in the south of England, I was brought up with training in ballet and theatre but also developed a love for books, history and the arts through my school and family interests. Now studying in London, I have become more accustomed to the city life and all that it offers.

Describe your style.

I like to believe that I can change my style depending on my mood, the seasons, and the occasion of any given day, but overall I think I have quite a typically British or classic style, enjoying basic cuts and many a striped t-shirt. Comfort is always my priority, so Winter knitwear, jeans and boots with a nice coat is my ideal outfit!

When did you start getting into fashion?

From when I was a child I have always enjoyed picking out my own clothes and trying different styles, perhaps influenced by my travels and fortunate visits to places beyond my little hometown from a young age. There are many a photo of tiny me tottering around with a handbag and some plastic fancy-dress high heels so I guess dressing to impress has always been something I’ve enjoyed!

Where are your favourite places to shop?

In more recent times I have built up a wardrobe which is about 70% from Brandy Melville as I absolutely adore their aesthetic and casual style, but I also love shopping online from Weekday, Asos, and I have a fair number of pieces from Jack Wills.

 What inspired you to get into vintage fashion?

Though I definitely don’t shop vintage as much as my younger teen-self, I first became interested in it thanks to a family interest in exploring antique, vintage and charity shops as well as a love for modern history including music, lifestyle and indeed fashion. I remember going to my first vintage fair when I was about 12 and loved seeing all the different styles that at the time weren’t so available in high street stores and wanted to buy clothes that I knew everyone else wouldn’t have.

 Do you think it is an important aspect to make your own clothing?

Making clothing isn’t something I am very familiar with, despite some sewing and textiles skills, but I do believe that it could be a fun way to experiment and create your own style. Even just customizing a ready-made piece could give it your own spin and it will be unique.

Do you have any tips for anyone shopping in vintage and charity shops?

Patience is key! You can’t expect to always find something you love or equally find something specific that you’re looking for, but always keep your eyes peeled for things that could be customised, altered to fit you or would work well with other pieces you already own. It’s also worth bearing in mind that something from a charity shop/vintage shop may not be top quality or worth your money, so paying a little extra could be worth it. That said, don’t be afraid in vintage places to try and bargain a little with the sellers; if you’re buying a lot you may bag a deal!

Why do you think charity shops are an important place to shop for clothes?

It certainly prevents your wardrobe from being a replica of someone else’s, and you can also try out some new styles at a fraction of the price of high street fashion. Shopping in both charity and vintage shops can also become a fun day out with friends, as you can challenge each other to find some treasures and it’s cool to not know what you will find.

Your style is very unique and wonderful; how do you go about styling different clothes?

I wouldn’t claim to put a whole lot of effort into how I style myself, but I think the most important thing is feeling comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing because this is what makes a good impression and allows you to enjoy your clothes the most. For this reason I choose clothes that I know most importantly I will feel comfortable wearing, and also suit my body. Everyone of course has different body shapes and it can be good to know what works best for yourself.

How did you go about finding your own style?

Trial and error I imagine! I have certainly tried a few styles and shops over the years and discovered what works/doesn’t work with me. I like to think that how I dress now is an amalgamation of my favourite things from a variety of styles, and that’s how you can develop your own look.

Have you always been into fashion?

For as long as I can remember I’ve definitely shown an interest in clothes and shopping, but fashion in terms of trends, designers and seasonal shows don’t interest me all that much. I fully respect the industry but it’s not something I would really choose to be a part of.

What new pieces have you picked up for this winter and spring that we haven't seen on your Instagram yet?

Heading into summer now I’ve bought quite a few new bits of swimwear recently, which I shall be taking on my holidays to Italy and France. Summer fashion isn’t really my favourite but I’m hoping to enjoy the bits I have picked up!

What are some of your current fashion obsessions?

I recently bought some cropped high-waisted trousers from Brandy M that I am finding to be a really nice alternative to jeans on warmer days, and have been pairing them with cute summery tops. I also picked up a classic green barbour-style jacket from Jack Wills, which I hope will be great on summer evenings and on country walks.

What are your favourite pieces of clothing?

The pieces of clothing that I go back to time and time again are turtleneck jumpers, striped tees and heeled boots. I find heeled boots so flattering on the leg, especially with a pair of black mom or skinny jeans.

What could you not live without?

Definitely nice coats, I certainly own one too many! I think that a good quality coat can make any outfit look well put together, and very classic.

Do you have any career plans?

At the moment I’m hoping to go into the cultural heritage industry, with particular interest in museum work. I think looking after our history is so important and would love to be a part of that.

Do you have a favourite fashion magazine?

Nowadays I don’t tend to read many magazines as I have so much academic reading to do, as well as books for leisure, so I seem to read a few articles on vogue online every now and then. I still follow a few bloggers and youtubers too, though since I’m not really one for caring about trends this is more just out of interest than for inspiration.

Who was your first style icon?

Maybe it’s because I’m an airhead, or maybe I just haven’t had a style icon before but I’m really struggling to think of anyone! I tend to just pick up ideas and styles from what I’ve seen and what I like the look of, so don’t think I’d really want to try and base my own look on someone else’s.

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?

Though I am in no way an influencer nor have any fame on any social media, personally I use it as somewhat of a creative outlet and place for me to document pictures and thoughts on a day-to-day basis. It has definitely broadened my horizons in terms of fashion, ideas and aesthetics, and I have also made some great friends online. I like to think it has also improved my own confidence, as you have to get used to the fact that not everyone will like or be nice about the things you choose to put online.

What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Instagram?

Probably more of the same! Hopefully my holidays during summer will provide some picturesque scenery and some different outfit pics, as well as more of my London life from September onwards. I’m not one to theme my Instagram or exclude certain styles of pictures, so could be a mixture of all sorts.

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to set up their own Instagram?

Don’t use it purely for the sake of gaining popularity, getting likes or trying to reach fame; social media should be primarily for fun and creating your own profile of your own personal interests and style. If you do happen to gain popularity, see it as a bonus.

What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?

I think it’s the idea of doing, instead of just talking about stuff you’d like to do. Sometimes it can be hard to motivate yourself to be creative and also hard to get over the fact some people might laugh/criticize, but unless you try something you won’t improve your skills in the long term.

You can follow this lovely lady on her Instagram and Twitter ‘@amynicolewells’. She is always posting wonderful pictures of her outfits and fashion. 

Crafty Fox Market

Hello you lovely lot. Two weeks feels as if it has been forever from blogging. After a recent breakup, I decided I needed a break from blogging. I needed some time to find myself again and realise that I can be happy by myself. I am rather excited to focus on myself, spend time with friends and enjoy my job in London. A few weeks ago I went to the Crafty Fox Market in Bethnal Green. As I do not know London well, it took myself a while to find the place. It was hidden around the corner with gorgeous old buildings and a book shop next door. As I walked inside, I was given a booklet about the event, postcards and stickers. The entrance had various stalls and I was rather excited to see many of them from Instagram. As we walked upstairs, there was a lovely bar and music playing. There was a lot of gorgeous bunting around with signs galore.

The main entrance had the Crafty Fox Market garland, which is gorgeous. I am definitely going to have to do some lettering like this for my bedroom and living room. Inside the main building, there was lots of workshops going on. The workshops were knitting, making purses and sewing. The room was full of bunting, signs, various stalls and music. A lady from the event was walking around with a 35mm camera taking pictures. I found some wonderful stalls. My favourite stalls had handmade plant pots and succulents as well as prints. I was able to pick up two prints from the artist Amy Grimes. Amy Grimes designs and illustrates some beautiful plants. I am rather excited to put these two illustrations in frames. I am currently looking for some frames for my bedroom. I cannot wait to go to another Crafty Fox Market. I would love to one day have my own stall full of vintage style crochet, prints and illustrations. All the best and take care. 

Social Pantry

Though we're big fans of the classic lemon and sugar combo, we can definitely save a bit of room for these Tiramisu Pancakes. The recipe comes from Alex Head, founder of Social Pantry, an eclectic catering company in London with a cafe on Lavender Hill. Ready to get stuck in? Here's what you need to pick up:

Ingredients

Pancake ingredients
280g plain flour
450ml whole milk
4 tbsp butter, melted
3 large, free-range eggs
3 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
3 tbsp instant coffee
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch sea salt

Cream filling
240ml double cream
115g mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp Tia Maria
2 tbsp maple syrup

Topping
Cocoa powder
Handful toasted almonds

Method
1  Firstly, make the cream filling. Beat all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and whip until you have soft peaks. Set aside in the fridge while you prepare the pancakes.

2   In a large bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder.

3  Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

4   In a separate bowl, mix the milk and instant coffee powder until fully dissolved. Whisk in the eggs, melted butter and vanilla.

5   Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing gently until you have a batter without any large clumps of flour. If the batter is too runny, add a tablespoon of flour.

6  Cook the pancakes on a hot, greased griddle pan. When bubble appear and the edges easily come away from the pan, flip and cook the other side.

7  Once the pancakes are cooked, transfer to a plate. While they're warm, layer the pancakes with a generous amount of the cream filling and dust with sifted cocoa powder. 

8   Add a handful of toasted flaked almonds for a delicious crunch finish and serve on a beautiful plate.

For more great recipes (including charcoal pancakes), head to the Social Pantry blog.

@ohcomelymag

www.ohcomely.co.uk

Keep updated

If you cannot find me on Twitter or my blog, why not follow me on Instagram. I am constantly posting updates on my fashion, design work and of course my addiction to vintage. Just simply search Rhiannon Britten. I am currently posting new updates for my shop and exciting new marbling ideas for notebooks. Interested? Why not follow.

Wanderlust Paper Co.

As you all may know, I am a bit of an addict. An addict to many things. The many reasons on why my friends call me a hoarder. In other words, I am prepared. Prepared for moving into my own future place. I am forever buying vintage ornaments, cushions and designs. As well as buying a lot of vintage items, I am a little bit of a plant addict. I was given some gorgeous plants a few weeks ago at craft club. I joined a lovely craft club called Object Book where I live in Walthamstow. I planted them in old teacups. I own five lovely plants and succulents. With this, I was sent some gorgeous designs by Wanderlust Paper Co. They are a wonderful company based in Sussex. I have been following them on Instagram for a rather long time and always lusting over their website. They have gorgeous floral designs and luxury stationary. Hence the reason on why I started talking about plants.

They have gorgeous floral designs and luxury stationary. Hence the reason on why I started talking about plants. Wanderlust celebrates the beauty of the photographic image, where they create luxury stationary. Wanderlust was set up in July 2016 by Lucy Brackin. Her designs are influenced by analogue photography and many of the images on the cards are taken on her 35mm camera. When I first opened the little white envelope, it had gorgeous stickers on the front saying the company name. The cards were wrapped in tissue paper with a sticker on the front, a little note using one of their postcards and gorgeous multi coloured black and white string. Inside included the new card designs, with lovely tracing paper envelopes. This is what makes the cards so unique. The designs are always visible and again ‘celebrates the joy of receiving and sending items in the post’. It is definitely worth taking a look at this lovely company. I cannot wait to send these cards in the post and I am definitely going to keep one to put into a frame. I just love the simplicity and elegance of these cards. They are unique, yet gorgeous quality. You can find their lovely items on their website ‘http://www.wanderlustpaper.co’. All the best and take care. 

Amber Newton

Amber is a graphic designer and photographer. She is currently finishing university studying Media Production. I was lucky enough to have an interview with Amber about this career plans and design work.

Hello Amber! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?

I'm good thank you! Glad and relieved that I've finished all my work for my degree now!

Describe your style.

I'd like to say that I have an individual style, but personally it ranges from brief to brief. Some things can look a lot more ragged and natural, and other can be more refined. I feel like I much prefer doing work by hand, so drawing things out and then later manipulating and refining them later on digitally, even if it makes things take so much longer! So I guess I have that to go on!

I adore your work. What inspired you to start doing illustrations and design?

Thank you! I guess it was from an early age where I started drawing things. I did fine art during school and A-levels, but I found this somewhat hindered my creativity and I really began to dislike it, but I think through doing media Production at university, specifically design, it enabled me to explore my creativity and really push myself to my limits.

 Have you always been into illustrations, design and art?

Yes definitely! I remember even making a list for Santa when I was really young I would put them into a little sketchbook and draw all over it, or just colouring and making things throughout school. I always thought of it more as a hobby though, rather than something that I could actually pursue as a career, which I think coming to university definitely aided with.

 How did you manage to learn and hone your craft?

A lot of it I think it through trial and error. Nothing will ever be perfect first time around, so experimenting and finding things that suit your specific strengths is definitely something that I would recommend. I've always drawn and done things in physical versions, but it was really only through university through using the Adobe package that I was able to see how much you can actually do, therefore being able to create such a wide range of things so easily. People say 'practice makes perfect', and honestly this statement is pretty true. I wouldn't necessarily it makes things perfect as you're always learning new things l, but practice definitely makes you better than you were originally. Also I think the best thing is to keep an open mind, and to always be looking around at things that you can use to inspire you. Things may go wrong from time to time, but so long as you stay positive and find other directions in which work can go, then eventually you'll produce something that you like and you're somewhat proud of!

 How has your creative process changed since the start?

It's definitely become a lot more tailored to my strengths. The main thing I've done throughout university is to experiment. Experiment with different techniques, Marie risks, software, etc. The only limitation is yourself, and the more you push yourself to do things the more you're able to produce and the better you are at doing so. I think that has changed the most. I'm not scared to do different things and think outside the box, and at times go against the norms. I do what I want to do, and how I like it, and I think as long as I carry on doing so, then I shall continue to progress and enjoy what I do.

What equipment do you use for your work?

My laptop truly has been a life saver, but honestly, without my tracing paper, mechanical pencil and my rubber I don't think I would have gotten this far and produced such a wide variety of pieces!

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?

I think in order to get your name out there; social media is crucial. Not only does it allow the easy access to clients, alongside being able to contact them, but it also provides a platform to store a range of work, kind of like an online scrapbook of your work that others can freely view and take inspiration from, just like we do them.

Who inspires your work?

My main inspirations I think personally are children's illustrators - as a whole. They all vary so much, but I like how quirky they are, and there are so many different styles but they are still able to convey a message through these styles.

Do you have any favourite pieces of artwork, design or illustrations that you adore at the moment?

I could honestly scroll through Pinterest and Instagram for days at line drawings and tattoos. I like how simplistic they can be, but at the same time show so much detail.

What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Instagram and Facebook page?

I hope to be soon getting a job, but I wish to carry on completing briefs in my own time to not only build my portfolio, but also to continue to develop my skills as a whole!

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I've been asked to do some seaside illustrations to be used on fabric, which I think should be fun, and I've also been asked if I could to do something for children's bedrooms. I'm not to piste of the specifics for now on that, but either way it'll be enjoyable!

What inspires you on a day-to-day basis?

Just looking at things to be honest. Bad design, good design, just being a sponge and taking everything in around me. Constantly looking how things have been produced, or how things can be improved is how I'm inspired.

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to set up their own Instagram?

Definitely do it! If you have work, showcase it. Make sure it's being showcased to the right audiences through the use of hashtags, and following the right people though, and be sure to stay professional on it, when people comment of work definitely reply, as you never know they could be your next client!

Do you have any advice for designers and illustrators?

Keep an open mind. If things don't go wrong it isn't the end of the world! Keep experimenting, try a whole range of different things, you never know what you could find to be your forté, and like I said previously, the only limitations are yourself!

What are your career plans?

I'm hoping to find a job within a design and advertising agency rather than the design department of a company. I think the variety of work keeps you on your toes, and there isn't as much risk of becoming bored of doing work, as it isn't always the same!

Where do you see yourself in three years’ time with your designs and illustrations?

I hope to be within a professional job and progressing though that, but also doing things for myself and still enjoying doing so.

What would you like to do after university?

Directly after, I shall be returning to Canada to work within a camp for adults and children with disabilities, but after that I'll be hopefully settling wherever the world takes me, but hopefully doing something that I enjoy!

Do you have any career plans with your degree?

I'd quite like to, like I mentioned previously, to work within design, even if that isn't straight away I'd still definitely be doing freelance work, and to definitely keep good relations with these clients too!

What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?

I think the best advice I was given was during an interview with a creative industry. I was told that things may not work out straight away, but it doesn't mean that it will never work out. Continue to strive and show your hard work and creativity and you'll definitely get places. Even if you end up for the first few years after university in a dead end job, working 9-5 in an office, continue to do design work, and you never know when your time will come, and continue applying for jobs. If they see you are passionate and show that dedication to strive, then they will see potential within you.

You can follow this lovely lady on her Instagram ‘https://www.instagram.com/ambsdesigns/’. She is always posting wonderful designs and illustrations. 

Lucy Brackin

Wanderlust Paper Co. are a wonderful company that sell gorgeous card designs. I was lucky enough to have an interview with them about their new designs and company.

Hello Wanderlust Paper Co.! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?

I’m great thanks, it’s lovely and sunny where we are in Sussex today so that always puts me in a good mood!

Describe your style in a few words.

Nostalgic, contemporary, whimsical.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I have always loved making things. I grew up near Brighton and have been living in Oxford for the last few years. I studied Fine Art at university there and graduated in the summer of 2016. While on my degree course I started playing around with 35mm cameras and fell in love with the painterly quality of film, and that lead me on to designing products with my photography as well as making art.

I fell in love with your shop from the start. What made you want to start your own shop?

In my second year of university it dawned on me that my life in Oxford wouldn’t last forever! I loved the freedom and creativity of a fine art degree so I wanted to find an outlet for my creativity that could earn me a living once I had graduated. I have always loved sending letters and struggled to find greetings cards that I wanted to buy, so I played with the idea of creating my own and everything started from there. As an artist I have always loved working with paper and I noticed there weren’t many luxury greetings cards featuring photography.

Why did you decide on Wanderlust Paper Co. as the name?

Wanderlust refers to the physical journey that greetings cards take as they travel from sender to recipient. I also wanted to evoke a sense of travelling and of memories in our designs, reflecting the origins of the photographs we use.

Why is the concept of design and creating things by hand important to your work?

Well I have always loved great design. I genuinely think it can make people’s lives better. I get such a joy from using beautifully designed products in my day-to-day life, so I want to take the same joy from designing my own products. There is such a lovely feeling about making something by hand, whether it’s a piece of pottery or a painting. I handprint all of my cards and there’s something lovely about being part of the production process yourself, rather than outsourcing to larger printing companies.

How does working by hand change your creative approach?

It definitely makes me consider the time that it will take to make each product. I like to have lots of items in stock so that if I receive a large order I’m not up printing all night!

How did you manage to learn and hone your craft?

My fine art degree really helped me to develop my own aesthetic and this enabled me to create a strong brand identity with Wanderlust. Other than that it’s really been a process of teaching myself things over time. Over the last few years I have gradually learnt more about film photography- when I first picked up a film camera I knew nothing! And since February I have been teaching myself how to hot foil print on to my cards. I’m still learning but gradually feel more like I know what I’m doing!

What equipment do you use for your work?

I recently purchased a vintage printing press and it has become a pretty essential part of the production process! It was quite scary to invest in but it has transformed our products. It is called a Blockmaster and allows me to hot foil print onto our cards, creating beautiful metallic text.

What tools or materials could you not live without?

Definitely my film camera! I have a few but my Olympus OM10 is my go to just because I am so familiar with it and it’s easy to use. I love to have a camera on me at all times in case I spot something that could be used for my designs or my art. My Dad bought me a medium format camera for Christmas and I am excited to start using that- it’s one of the ones with two lenses and is absolutely beautiful.

What’s your typical working day?

My days really vary. Owning a business means you take on so many roles, whether it’s designing, advertising, manufacturing our products, packing orders, working out our finances- it’s endless! So it’s really a mixture of these things, and I often like to go on day trips for inspiration. I think the best thing about owning your own business is being able to work anywhere, whether it’s a lovely coffee shop or from my own bed! I live by the sea so try to take walks along the beach everyday as a break from working at home.

What are you currently working on?

Bizarrely enough I am just finalizing some of our Christmas card designs for later this year! Retailers start to buy stock for Christmas around May so it means we are often working on seasons 8-10 months in advance. Just before I sat down to write this interview I was printing ‘Let It Snow’ onto lots of snowflake cards!

Which area of your work do you find the most fulfilling?

Designing is obviously a real joy and I wouldn’t enjoy what I do if it didn’t allow for that creativity. But selling products also feels really good! It’s nice to feel like people are understanding and appreciating your work, and I absolutely love packaging up the orders we receive.

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?

Social media has been crucial to growing my business. When I started out I had barely any money, so couldn’t afford to spend much on new products let alone advertising. Having a strong, regular presence on platforms such as Instagram is free and it allows you to put your brand in front of so many people. A lot of our stockists come from Instagram.

What’s been the biggest struggle in getting your business off the ground?

Definitely selling! As a creative person the designing part is relatively easy, but I had no idea how much work would need to go in to marketing and selling my product. It’s taken me a while to learn how best to promote my business and I’m definitely still learning. I’ve learnt to be creative when it comes to selling as well as designing, because lots of people are trying to get their products in to shops so you have to find ways of contacting them that stand out against everybody else.

What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Instagram and Facebook page?

I am trying to post a lot more regularly on both platforms, especially Instagram. Over the next year we’re going to be sharing news and new products on Instagram and Facebook, as well as discount codes and freebies.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to set up their own shop?

My first piece of advice would be to just do it! I genuinely think being proactive and getting stuff done is the biggest barrier to success. It’s really hard setting up your own business but the people who push through all the difficulties are the ones who are successful, not necessarily the people selling the best product. I’ve learnt to be resilient and to see problems as things to be solved rather than obstacles that can’t be passed. I would also really recommend using Instagram to design businesses. It helps you to raise awareness of your brand, and you can also follow existing businesses and their owners to get an insight into an industry that you might not know much about when you’re just starting out.

Please follow this wonderful company and take a look at their website ‘http://www.wanderlustpaper.co’. They have some beautiful cards and designs in stock. 

Megan Swan

Megan is an aspiring illustrator with a love for art and design. I was lucky enough to have an interview with Megan about her work.

 Hello Megan! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?

HI!! Well I’m finally feeling a little calmer — I’m coming to the end of a very intense second year at Leeds College of Art, and it’s been busy to say the least!!

Tell us a little bit about your background.

So I’m 21 and I’m a student on the BA(Hons) Illustration course at LCA, but home for me is approximately 260 miles away in the South West (Somerset to be precise). I’ve come a long way away to study, which many people wouldn’t consider… but for me it’s been an amazing journey, I’ve completely changed as a person, I almost feel like I’ve come into my own whilst I’ve been here. Plus, Leeds is a fab arty, cultural and busy place, and coming from a small farmers town it’s just what I needed.

Describe your style in three words. 

I’m not sure I like to say I have a ‘definitive style’ because I get so bored of things that I’m constantly trying new things!! My design friends would disagree though; they think I do have a style — for three words I guess I would say: Colourful. Whimsical. Tactile.

I adore your work. What inspired you to start doing illustrations? 

I’ve always had this desire to tell a story. I also studied Psychology and I love understanding the way people think. Particularly, how a person’s perception of something can be altered through colour and design. so I guess a combination of these desires leaves me with communicating with images. The problem was figuring out what I want to communicate.

Have you always been into illustrations, design and art?

YES. When I was a little one, there was nothing I loved more than going through my crafts box and sticking popsicle sticks down, covering them in glitter and drawing obscure shapes (a load of tat) but I’ve always loved having design as an outlet. It helps me to feel connected to myself, if that makes sense.

How has your creative process changed since the start? 

I feel like Art at school forces you to be a certain way, by making everyone do the same projects in the same way. I struggled with this, it stopped me from making my own discoveries about my own practice. Only in the Second year of my degree have I begun to figure out where my work lies in a professional context and which ways of working best suit my voice.

What equipment do you use for your work? 

I’m infatuated with screen-printing. LCA has wonderful facilities that I’m going to miss sorely when I graduate next year, but whilst I’m here I plan to use them to the full extent. We forced to get hands on with printing our own work, and a lot of people are stressed out by traditional printing processes. However, I love immersing myself in the environment and lose myself in the process. Even though it takes ages from start to finish, I think it’s worth it. I feel so proud holding the perfect finished print, after all the blood, sweat & tears. 

Are there any pieces of equipment that you recommend?

For me, I adore layering my work with texture, shapes, line and colour. One of the ways I always start an image is with a thick graphite pencil. The chunky, scratchy lines are so textural and it forces me to stop being so perfect with sketching. I end up feeling less restricted, compared to using a sharpened thin 2B pencil. Also A VISUAL JOURNAL. I always have a sketchbook to hand, incase I get any ideas or thoughts. Thinking through drawing is crucial.

What tools or materials could you not live without?

Colour. I’ve spent some time this year researching and writing about how colour works and it’s honestly such a fascinating field. It holds great power in design because it can change the whole perception of an image, and it can even persuade you to buy things?! I’ve always loved a tasty colour palette and I enjoy this part of the image-making process.

What helps you to be inspired?

Research. If I find myself stuck in a rut or getting really frustrated with a project because everything is looking awful, I realise it’s because I’ve stopped opening my eyes to other designers, my own photos or inspiring books, places and galleries etc. As soon as I jump back into research I feel refreshed. They say you should never rely on your memory, because it’s never as good as the real thing. I totally agree, I need to feel inspired by research to produce good work.

What has been your favourite piece of work? 

I was real proud of a concertina book that I designed, screen-printed and bound all by myself just before Christmas, partly because I broke out of my comfort zone and wrote a strange surreal story inspired by the work of Japanese write Haruki Murakami. There was no text, it was like one long line of images that rolled into each other. That’s when I started to feel like my ‘style’ was emerging. Though I’ve just submitted my final design module of second year and I really enjoyed the whole project — I designed two homeware collections based on two explorers!

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use? 

It’s a wonderful place to meet likeminded creative individuals. I also studied photography for a tiny amount of time and have always been taking pictures — Instagram specifically started as a space for me to post all of these pictures. Nowadays, it’s great for my professional side because I can promote my work and follow other designers. Plus I get a ‘behind the scenes’ look at some of my favourite designers!! 

Who inspires your work? 

I’d say my favourite designers include Keith Negley, Anne Laval, Molly Hatch and the design studio Atelier Bingo. Bit of a mishmash I guess… but I can appreciate all of their work and I try to tie in their different approaches to my own practice. I feel like they unite over their strong use of colour and composition.

Do you have any favourite pieces of artwork or illustrations that you adore at the moment?

Atelier Bingo just seem to understand what should go where, which colours look good and what sorts of marks would work really well? They kind of combine illustration, graphic design and surface pattern design, and I like that they don’t limit themselves! Plus they’ve expanded from prints to clothing and stationery which is just gorgeous and I need it.

Have you considered setting up your shop?

I’ve sold a few prints here and there, but I think a lack of confidence has stopped me from going all out and launching anything wildly big. Thing is I know the basics now about selling after collaborating with the wonderful Polly Vadasz from Sighh Designs, which taught me a lot!! I think I just need to start slow and build a portfolio and website, then maybe start thinking about commercialising my illustrations.

As well as setting up your own shop, have you considered setting up a blog? 

I have thought about it yes!!!! I’m obsessed with clothes. I enjoy some trends, but I think style is different and is what makes someone stand out. I could use it as an outlet for clothes as well as my design work. I actually have to keep a blog for my course — but it’s kinda boring because I just have to reflect on my projects and track my progress, so I know the logistics. Again, I need to summon a spur of courage to create one. You become kind of vulnerable when you put yourself out there, but how else do I hope to grow?!

What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Facebook and Instagram?

Over the Summer I’m going to try and start making things and maybe I will start a blog!! It’d be so beneficial for my practice, especially as I’m graduating soon. Hopefully people will be supportive of it and I won’t want to go and cry if no one buys anything or reads my posts hahaha. 

I at least know I want to develop some branding for myself so I can launch a website to send to potential employers! 

Do you have any career plans? 

I’d adore to work in-house as part of a design team for a company — I work in the homewares department of a store and I love getting to see new products when they release new collections, particularly as more and more people are enjoying the hand-made aesthetic. I like to think I work well in a team and enjoy having people to bounce ideas off, particularly with other creatives, so I guess I need to get some placements to gain experience in the industry!

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to set up their own Facebook page or Tumblr?

I’d say make it your own. I honestly believe the most important part is making sure it reflects who you are as a person, or who you want to be. So don’t feel restricted by offering too much of yourself. People love to see behind the scenes, and when you make mistakes!! Reminds people that no one is perfect (sometimes social media gives the impression of a perfect life)

Do you have any advice for designers and illustrators? 

For people that are trying to grow as designers, I say try new things and embrace new experiences.

What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?

It’s funny but I’ve recently interviewed an illustrator that I’m in awe of, he does lots of work the New York Times and has released a book. I was in shock that he was willing to chat with me!! Anyway, he left me with a piece of advice that really resonate with me:

“Look within yourself for inspiration, tell your own stories, and only look to your own conscience for approval”

{easier said than done of course}

You can keep up to date with this lovely lady on her Instagram 'meganfrxnces'. She is always posting wonderful illustrations and fashion.