Gluten Free In Cambridge

Cambridge is such a beautiful city, and when you’re here for the day, you’ll definitely want to visit at least one of the lovely cafés here. If like me, you’re a coeliac, finding gluten-free food in a new city can often be a stress. I’ve lived in Cambridge for two years now, and have tried out almost all the cafés this city has to offer, so here are a few of my faves for you to try! 

Urban Shed

Possibly my favourite cafe in Cambridge, Urban Shed is a vintage shop and café combined. The retro decor is not just for show, and most of the items and furniture which decorate the place are up for sale, if you just ask a member of staff. In my opinion however, the star attraction is their amazing sandwiches - any of which can be made on gluten free bread - with a great choice of fillings, including lots of vegetarian and vegan options. Honestly the tastiest sandwiches in the city, for a very reasonable price. If you're still hungry after (which, given the enormous portions, is unlikely), they have a great range of gluten free and vegan cakes. All of their food can be bought to take away, which makes it the perfect picnic food, especially with the great variety of picnic spots nearby (Christ's Pieces, Jesus Green and Midsummer Common to name but a few). They also have a deal going with the pub next door, so you're able to take your sandwich into the pub to have with a pint!

Stickybeaks

The best way to describe this cafe is probably as an Instagram-able hipster brunch spot, which caters to coeliacs and vegans alike. Close to the city centre, its very popular, so you may have to be prepared to queue, but it's definitely worth the wait. They have a great salad selection, all freshly made, as well as a great GF frittata, and loads of great vegan options (including cakes!).

Rainbow Cafe

A super popular vegetarian, vegan and gluten free café which has won awards for its food -if you've got complex dietary requirements, or are even just a picky eater, then you'll still have an amazing amount of menu choices! Although the decor leaves a little to be desired (not sure teddies as ornaments are a good idea), it's still one of the best places to get a meal in Cambridge! My top recommendation would be their gluten free spinach and ricotta lasagne, and definitely don't hold back on the desserts - they have a specials menu featuring gluten free cakes and vegan cheesecakes, all freshly made daily. 

Espresso Library

A little out of the centre of town, but a suitably hipster café nonetheless. It has a great menu of vegan and gluten free options, including the cliché millennial brunch of avocado toast. As the name suggests, they love coffee and books, and the two are regularly combined with their "Bookbar" event, an opportunity to take in some cool fiction and poetry whilst enjoying their delicious menu. The café also has a great selection of art, hosting temporary exhibitions of local artists work.

Afternoon Tease

Situated just between Urban Shed and Stickybeaks, this area of Cambridge has a high concentration of excellent cafés. Although they have a small menu of sandwiches and soup, Afternoon Tease is still a great spot to get lunch, as they have gluten free bread so can adapt most dishes. Another tiny café with a vintage style interior, their gluten free cakes are not to be missed.

Savino's

Perhaps not the most Gluten free friendly for lunch, as you're limited to salad, this traditional family owned Italian coffee bar is too good to miss off the list. We all know that Italians do it best when it comes to coffee, and they're renowned for doing the best cappuccino in Cambridge. If you're looking for a gluten free cake though, they sell an amazing almond based chocolate caprese cake, which although not advertised as being gluten free, is 100% coeliac friendly, and completely homemade. The café attracts a mixed clientèle of Italians and students alike, with them offering a discount to Emmanuel College students, due to its proximity to the college, meaning a large proportion of my student loan has probably been spent having a coffee study break there. 

Botanic Gardens

I could write a whole blog post about how much I love the Botanic Gardens here, as they’re so so beautiful, especially in the summer. If you visit, the café there is not to be missed - it’s fairly simple and has just a small selection of drinks and some gluten free cakes, but the surroundings could not be better. Sitting in the café with a raspberry lemonade and polenta cake is my favourite study spot, and a great escape when I’m in the middle of a stressful exam period.

Other notable places to try include:

The Old Bicycle Shop

Fitzbillies

Fitzwilliam Museum Café

Introduction

If you read yesterday's blog post, you'll have seen me mention that I'm going to be collaborating with Rhiannon on Nora & Luna from now on! I'm super excited for us to work together, as we met through Instagram around 5 years ago, and have since become best friends. I've written some posts for the blog before, about my photography work and journals, so it's great to have the opportunity to write more regularly. This post is a sort of intro to me, as you'll be hearing a lot more from me if you're a regular reader of Nora & Luna! 

I'm 20 years old, and a second year student at Emmanuel College, Cambridge studying French and Italian. I'm originally from York, but over the past two years I have definitely made Cambridge my home; although my northern accent still remains! In my free time I love sewing and embroidery, vintage fashion, travelling, and photography. You can expect posts from me in future about making your own clothes, journaling, my various travels (not all of them strictly study related), and of course more playlists! I love music - going to concerts, playing piano and collecting vintage records - so I'm excited to make it a more regular part of the blog! 

I also love exploring my city for fabulous new gluten-free lunch spots, finding bargains in Cambridges many charity shops, and you'll often find me spending hours in Cambridge's main art gallery, the Fitzwilliam Museum. I love the gallery so much that I've become part of the Fitzwilliam Museum Society - which promotes all things art related in Cambridge - and have taken up the position of the society's Graphic Designer, something which I'll be writing about soon.

If you want to see more of my pictures and find out more about me, you can follow my Instagram '@an_award'.

Paige Leanne

Hello, it’s been a while since I last posted and even longer since I last put up an outfit post! But I’m back and hoping to make this a regular thing.

I met with the lovely Ella last week to shoot some outfits in Primrose Hill and to give us an excuse to eat cake in a really cute cafe. I chose to wear what are definitely my favourite jeans (so far!). I bought them from Beyond Retro in Soho a couple months ago and have worn them at least twice a week since! They’re Calvin Klein and although I’m not sure on the name of the fit I’d say they’re just a high rise straight fit. I’m a shade off 6ft so find jeans the most difficult clothing item to get to fit me. Although I do adore these jeans they stretch and get baggy so much after a few wears so I’m always washing them to shrink them back down, any tips on how to stop this?

I also think that after buying these jeans I’m never going back to skinnies, all those years of having my blood circulation cut off are so not worth it. Similar to these jeans I’d check out Asos Florence jeans, they often sell out super fast but are ever so worth a purchase.

The comfiest shoes that aren’t trainers are definitely these loafers, purchased from New Look a few months ago. I wasn’t sure I suited them until I played around with a few outfits and scrolled through Pinterest for inspo that I fell in love with them. Even though I wish they were Gucci, they’re definitely decent second bests! I often pair them with these jeans or my white Levi 501’s, dresses and denim shorts.

My trusty little bag served me very well through the whole of Glastonbury and didn’t get damaged at all which I’m super chuffed about. I nabbed it off Depop for around £20 and love it to pieces.

Cute car aside, this crochet top has to be my favourite item I’ve bought all year. I found it in a flea market in Lewes and only paid £6 for it!!! Every time I wear it someone asks me where it’s from, the label inside is a really old Hennes label (half of H&M) so I’m guessing this top was made before Hennes and Mauritz came together! It’s thick and quite heavy so I’m hoping it’s going to last me a good long time. Any similar tops I find I’ll link at the end of this post.

Top: Vintage, similar: ChoiesNewlookLulus

Jeans: Calvin Klein, similar: ASOS FlorenceWeekday

Loafers: Newlook, similar: ASOSOffice

Bag: Depop

Thank you as always for reading my blog and thanks to Ella for being fab!

Paige x

August Playlist

This is the first instalment in Nora & Luna’s new feature — our monthly playlist! I’ve teamed up with Rhiannon and will be collaborating with lots of exciting new ventures for the blog, the first of which being regular playlists. As this is my first one, I decided to create a playlist which sums up my music taste and my personality, so its features lots of my favourite artists and songs — although I’ve actually left out my favourite band of all time (The Smiths), which is probably a first for me in any playlist I’ve ever made, however I promise there’ll be some of their songs in future! 

You’ll notice it’s a fairly eclectic playlist, as I love music from lots of different genres and decades. The playlist starts with Everything Everything, a band whom I’ve loved since the release of their first album, and whose new album - being released this week - I am very excited to hear. On the other end of the scale, the playlist ends with France Gall, who is famous for her quirky ‘Yé-yé’ French pop — my love for 1960s french music is far-reaching, and is definitely a reflection for my love of French culture as a whole, hence why I am currently studying French at university. 

You can also subscribe to this playlist (and all future playlists), by following Nora & Luna’s new Spotify account! You can listen to it here

Shannon Clark

Shannon Clark runs an amazing blog and website called Sweet Serendipity. I was lucky enough to have an interview with Shannon about her career plans and blog. 

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

Hi! Thank you for interviewing me, I’m excited to be a part of your blog series! 

Tell us a little bit about your background. 

I’ve just graduated from the University of Reading, having studied English Literature for the past three years and I’m now working as a content creator in a local marketing company. I’ve also had my own pony for the past nine years and while it is tiring (and costs me a fortune!), it is definitely worth it!

Describe your style. 

Relaxed and comfy – You will nearly always find me in a pair of shorts, a fitted top and a jumper. 

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

Thank you, that is so lovely of you! I started my blog about five years ago as an online diary. I’ve always loved writing but I never managed to regularly write in a traditional diary as I would just forget it was there. My blog gave me somewhere to put all of that writing and over the years it has developed into something that I put a little (a lot!) more thought into!

What is the reason behind the name of your blog?

When I was younger my favourite book used to be called Serendipity – the name sprung into my mind one day and I decided to do a google search to see if I could find the book. I did, but I also found that what I thought had just been a name for the little purple dragon was actually a word that means “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way”. I adored the meaning and I love a bit of alliteration so Sweet Serendipity was born! 

Why did you choose a green design for your logo?

A lot of my photos are taken in the countryside and they obviously feature a lot of greenery in them so green just seemed like a logical colour to go with for my blog design as it works well to tie everything on my blog together! 

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

I think an important part of any blog is the visuals – I like to see photos on blog posts that I read so I always include them in any posts that I write. 

What equipment do you use for your photography and Instagram page?

All of my photos are taken using my Olympus EPL-7 or my Iphone 5S. So nothing hugely fancy!

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

I have the most followers on Twitter but in all honesty Instagram is my favourite platform and definitely the one I put the most amount of effort into! I’m a very visual person and I’ve come to realise that my lifestyle, in the countryside, isn’t as normal to everyone else as it is to me so I love sharing snippets of my life that city-dwellers don’t get to see!

Who inspires your blog and Instagram page?

Oh gosh this is hard! There are so many people that I find inspiring. I absolutely love @me_and_orla, @allthatisshe, @freyadowson, @creativecountryside, @pollyandbooks ad @monalogue’s Instagram accounts. Blog-wise…www.hollylovesthesimplethings.co.uk, www.nishantishu.com, www.ciderwithrosie.co.uk, www.meandorla.co.uk, www.sophieetc.com, www.neverendingfootsteps.com, www.thetravelhack.com and www.wonderful--you.com are all blogs that I return to time and time again. They’re all very different but they are all run by incredibly passionate women! 

How many posts do you aim to put out each month?

I try not to be too strict on myself as I like my blog to feel fun but typically I will try to put out at least two posts a month.

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

I’ve just got back from Cornwall and I’m heading to Bali in a few weeks so I will be sharing plenty of outdoorsy posts from both places! I’m also going to be sharing some new finds from my local area in Buckinghamshire so there is plenty of content to come over the next few months! 

When did you start getting into blogging?

I started blogging about five years ago, I think…!  

Why did you decide to set up a countryside and lifestyle blog? 

I didn’t intend for my blog to be a countryside blog when I started, in fact it was only really last year that someone pointed out to me that it was quite a fitting title! I started off just blogging about my day-to-day life with my horses and then it has grown from there, but I live in the countryside so it is only natural that a lot of my content is based in the outdoors. 

What do you include in your countryside and lifestyle blog?

I cover quite a wide range of topics – my blog is largely filled with all things nature, animals and anything ‘outdoorsy’. I share photos from the countryside and write posts about anything from travel to adventures with my horse. I also blog about the ‘cosier’ elements that come from living in the countryside so you will also find book reviews and crafty posts from time-to-time. 

As well as your blog, you have your own shop. What do you sell in your shop?

I do! I sell decorated horseshoe wall-hangings – some are pre-made and others are custom orders.

When did you set up your shop?

I set it up last summer, it started as a little bit of fun and then people started to comment on them so I opened up the store. 

Do you use your shop and blog together? 

Not really, my blog is definitely my priority and the shop is a bit of fun on the side but with owning a horse and running a countryside blog, the two do share similarities! 

What could you not live without? 

It sounds awful, but my phone. A lot of my family lives abroad so I like to be able to stay in contact with them and with having a horse I like to be contactable at all times in case of emergencies! I also love that the cameras on the iPhone’s are now incredibly high quality so having my phone with me is like having a mini camera at all times too.

Do you have any career plans? 

I’m currently working in marketing, which I love but long-term I want to work for myself – freelance writing, social media content creating, pretty much what I’m doing now but with a bit more freedom. 

Where would you like to be in blogging three years from now?

In the past year I would say my style has changed quite a lot and I’m now really happy with the content I’m producing. In the next few years I would love to just keep pushing myself to see what I can do next, especially now that I have a style I’m happy with.

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

Just do it! Don’t overthink it, don’t compare yourself to anyone else – just blog about things that you are genuinely interested in and if your blog grows from somewhere genuine, you can’t go wrong! 

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

Give it a go. If you don’t try, you’ll never know. It’s better to have tried and failed than to not have tried at all. 

You can follow the lovely lady on her blog and website ‘www.sweetserendipityblog.co.uk'. She is always posting amazing articles and posts.

Lucy Scott

Lucy Scott is a student at Leeds College of Art and studies Illustration. I was lucky enough to have an interview with Lucy about her work and career plans in design. 

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

Hi! It’s a pleasure! I’m very good thank you.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I'm currently a student at Leeds College of Art on the BA Illustration course. I'm just about to go into my second year of the course. I am still a baby in the illustration world!

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

I was always told when studying art at A Level that my work looked “illustrative’. I had no idea what this meant so I was intrigued to find out since I didn't know which path I wanted to go down in art and design yet.

I was happy to find illustrations could be a part of things I already loved such as picture books, homeware, stationary etc. It was very open and that appealed to me a lot. It seemed to fit me well so I thought why not give it a try.

Have you always been into illustrations and design?

I've enjoyed illustrated books, making cards, and of course drawing since I was very young. It took me a bit of time to realise it was what I wanted to do as a career but art has always been my love. Studying to become an illustrator has felt really natural, I can't think of what else I might have attempted to pursue!

How has your creative process changed since the start?

Since attending the foundation course at Leeds College of Art a few years ago, I feel I have come a long way. The foundation course and the degree I am doing at the moment opened my eyes to how to approach an illustration brief. I used to think up what I wanted to draw and draw it without thinking about what it communicated to the viewer.

Now I spend a lot more time in my sketchbook, it's a place where I can get my ideas out without worrying how it's looking. I also do much more research around the subject I'm illustrating about, especially if I have no clue what the subject is. This makes a massive difference to the quality of my outcome. Aside from the serious stuff, I just play around more, I’m less worried about things being perfect.

What equipment do you use for your work?

At the moment I am enjoying coloured pencils. Sounds childish but I love how you can see the marks and textures. I think it helps show the craft in the illustration. Apart from coloured pencil, I’m a big fan or collage and cut paper.

What tools or materials could you not live without?

Paper. Life would be difficult without it!

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

I mainly use Instagram but I've found it so helpful, I think its the perfect platform for any visual artist. As well as getting to see what my favourite contemporary illustrators are up to, I can put photos of my work up and show people my process and ongoing projects etc. Its an insight that you don’t usually get into the life of an artist which is so exciting. Also, the instant feedback from people who might comment is great.

Who inspires your work?

There are many illustrators whose work often inspires me. Also more abstract things inspire me such as nature and music. In terms of artists and illustrators I feel David Hockney and Matisse have had an effect on my work. Both artists work have simplicity and colour at their core which I value a lot. Some contemporary illustrators who I’m loving at the moment are Ariel Davis and Kelsey Wroten. Both are young artists yet are so confident and bold in their image making which is really exciting.

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

I adore Hockey’s pool paintings at the moment. I saw one in person the other day, it was magical. Every time I see one I find myself analysing how he has used line to show the movement and light on the water. Hockney never ceases to amaze me. In general, his paintings are so complex but they appear simple and thats such a hard balance to achieve.

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

Well, I’m just about to begin my second year of BA Illustration at Leeds College of Art. I’ll be sharing my ongoing projects and my developing process for sure. I have only just started getting a grip on illustration so I’ll be doing a lot of exploring and experimenting. What are your career plans? My dream is to be a freelance illustrator whilst also having my own online shop where I sell zines, prints, pins, homeware etc. That would be perfect.

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to start drawing or creating illustrations?

Don’t take it too seriously. Of course you have to be dedicated and hard working but don’t be hard on yourself. I’m always doing this when a drawing doesn’t go right or I can’t figure out how to communicate what I need to through images.

It is frustrating but try to let it go. It can affect your mental health as art is so closely tied to who you are and when it doesn’t go right its hard not to feel bad. Your health needs to come first! Look after yourself and let that pressure go. You are surely wanting to draw because you love it so keep it fun. Explore and play!

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

Only you see the world from your eyes! I was told this by my first year tutor Matthew the Horse, a brilliant practicing illustrator and poet. You have to use your unique perception of the world as a tool in your work. Try not to compare your work to other practitioners work (I know it can be impossible sometimes) but other people have different experiences, interests, and outlooks on life.

Trying to be like others is not being your authentic self. Figure out what makes your view on life different and figure out what you want to say through your work. Your work will likely go off down its own organic path and soon enough you’ll be the one other people admire.

You can follow this lovely lady on her Instagram '@lu.cy.scott'. She has some wonderful illustrations, so please make sure to check out her Instagram page. 

Tara Matthews

Tara Matthews has her own blog called Cracked Vinyl. I was lucky enough to have an interview with Tara about her blog and interviews.

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

Hi, thank you for letting me be part of it! I’m great thank you, hope you’re well.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I’m Tara, 20 and a Music Journalism student at BIMM Brighton. I’ve been a music fan for so many years and have always had a huge passion for it and vaguely began writing about it during secondary school but only really decided to make a big thing about it a few years ago.

Describe yourself in three words. 

Passionate, creative and affectionate.

I adore your blog. What inspired you to start blogging, especially about music?

Like I said I’m a huge music fan so I’ve been going to gigs and buying music for years and saw other people posting reviews of gigs they’ve been to online, mostly on Twitter. It was there really that I got speaking to friends about music and started writing posts. I’ve had many different blogs over the years but Cracked Vinyl has been the best so far (I hope!)

Have you always been into blogging and music?

Alongside music, fashion is a huge passion of mine and I’ve been fans of so many bloggers and YouTubers over the years to so that certainly inspired me to start blogging about music. Music magazines such as NME and DIY have hugely inspired my writing and passion for music too as I’ve been an avid reader of these mags for the last 4 years.

How has your creative process changed since the start?

When I first began blogging it wasn’t really about anything specific, my first blog was a bit all over the place as I would merge fashion, music, lifestyle all in one whereas now I’ve refined myself to just music as it’s what I enjoy writing about the most.

Describe your creative process.

My creativity and inspiration for blog posts usually comes from the music itself. I often get sent lots of tracks to listen to and if I really enjoy it I’ll be desperate to write about it. I’ve got little notebook where I jot down all my thoughts and I try to carry it around with me so it’s there if I need it on the go.

Why did you call your blog Cracked Vinyl? 

I’m not really sure how I came to think of my Twitter handle but during my secondary school years I came up with tara_eats_vinyl, and from there on the vinyl thing really stuck so I sort of saw it as a part of my ‘brand’ as such. Also the fact I am a massive fan of collecting records so again, it was just part of my passion. Cracked Vinyl specifically was just a name that jumped out at me amongst a list of vinyl related things.

How did you manage to learn and hone your craft? 

To begin with it was just a bit hit and miss. Like I said I’ve had a few blogs myself so have been able to kinda gauge my writing skills and hone it to suit me. Again though, my uni course has definitely taught me so many new skills that have developed my way of not only writing about music but listening to it too.

Who inspires your blog?

Music magazines such as DIY and Dork have inspired me so much over the past few years but I always find myself reading a tonne of music blogs too. Just to name a few I’d have to mention Turtle Tempo, Indie Central Music, Popped Music and Mix It All Up. Actually, there’s a few bloggers who mention various music bits and bobs so I’d have to give Paige from Held Together By Pins a shout out too because her music posts are great!

How do you go about getting your interviews?

I’ve not really been so successful interview wise up until recently as I’ve hugely learnt a lot since starting uni in September, where my lecturers are such lovely and inspiring people. They’ve taught me how to properly speak to an artist’s PR and management team. However before Uni, I have managed to blag myself some press passes for festivals the past few years which has allowed me to just speak to the bands directly and see if they’re up for a chat!

Do you have any advice for anyone who is trying to contact someone for an interview?

I’d say definitely make sure you’re clued up beforehand and 100% prepped for the interview because it’s nerve-wracking enough doing the interview let alone having no idea what questions you’re going to be asking. But in terms of getting the interview, just be firm yet polite with the artist’s team. Most PR’s and Manager’s will love the attention that you’re willing to give their act so they’re more than likely to say yes, unless you’re asking for an interview with Adele. 

How do you think of questions for your interviews?

I just do lots and lots of research to be honest, what the band have been up to recently, any latest tracks, what they’ve got coming up etc. Most of the time questions come to mind mid interview as it’s just like have a conversation with friends.

Do you get nervous before an interview?

Every single time. I can’t help it. I’m such an anxious person anyway so that doesn’t help. 

How do you tackle those nerves?

I just try to keep myself grounded by reassuring myself that they’re just normal people too. And once the interview actually kicks off, 9 times out of 10 the band are absolutely lovely anyway!

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

Not only has it allowed me to share my work with other people and expand my readership but it’s allowed me to find and connect with new artists and people of the music industry which I wouldn’t have known about before.

What are your career plans?

I’m hoping to do well at uni and get my degree and hopefully land a job within the music industry doing journalism or PR.

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to start blogging or interviews?

I’d say just go for it. If you want to make your own blog then go ahead, it’s the perfect starting tool. Also try to find some other blogs that you can contribute to and get your work out there. Hit me up if you want some exposure, I’m more than happy to help.

You can find her wonderful interviews on the website ‘www.cracked-vinyl.com’ and Instagram ‘@cracked_vinyl’. She has some great articles on her blog. 

Verena Hanley

Verena Hanley graduated studying Media Production, where she specialised in screenwriting. Her love for writing, has influenced her to qualify in mental health counselling. I was lucky enough to have an interview with Verena about her fashion. 

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

I'm good thank you. 

Tell us a little about your background.

I was born into a military family, German-English bilingual. I grew up moving countries and schools every 3 years or so until I got to Lincoln in 2004. I had many interests in school, I wanted to be a photographer, a psychologist, an artist, a filmmaker. I ended up getting an Undergraduate degree in Media Production, specialising in screenwriting where I found another passion. Later this year I will start a Postgraduate in Creative Writing to develop my craft, and I have plans afterwards to qualify in mental health counselling.

Describe your style.

I think I would describe how I create, and therefore my style, as practical realism with a touch of romanticised modernism. When I get creative I want something that I can look at every day without a fading smile.

When did you start getting into fashion?

I’ve always had an interest in fashion, a keen eye for detail and have always tried to develop skills in design whenever possible. Growing up, I was the deciding vote on which shoes and bags match the outfits my mum and sister asked my advice on. I was the girly one out of the three of us and had an eye for it.

Where are your favourite places to shop?

I do find some gems in the sales of H&M and New Look, but I also like to look through Amazon sometimes. Always read reviews and product descriptions carefully before purchasing online though. However, I’m always looking for pre-loved items on the cheap and cheerful that I can alter into something new.

What inspired you to get into vintage fashion?

To be honest the fit, fabric and style trend of high street stores is a little ridiculous for me. I find that vintage items are of better quality, better fit to natural female shapes, and usually more comfortable.

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

Having even a basic skill in sewing will make life a little easier and cheaper when something in your home or wardrobe goes wrong. It’s also very handy when you come across that special piece in the sale that’s missing a button or has a broken zipper. It is a cheaper and can be less time consuming option than buying clothes, you also know it will fit perfectly if you measure right. Alternatively you can find cool ways to embellish clothes you already have or turn a pair of trousers that no longer fit into a cushion cover. Possibilities are endless when you learn a thing or two about sewing machines and pattern making.

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

1. Don’t be afraid of larger sizes: wider material gives you more options and always remember lining fabric.

2. Always read labels: you need to know what kind of material you’re working with to determine it’s worth or how difficult it may be to work with.

3. Seams: how many are there? What will each individual piece look like once you’ve separated the seams, and how that effects the volume of material you can use? If it’s a guideline piece, study where the seams are and this will help to deconstruct a pattern for your person

4. Keep an eye out for unique embellishments: they don’t make clothes like they used to anymore, a piece of well-preserved hand embroidery can go a long way to adding a little extra to something you make without adding the time.

5. Try the material on whenever possible: This helps make you aware of the flow of the material, how it feels against skin, and the weight. All these points you should take into consideration before purchase, especially if bartering is an option!

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

It’s always worth looking in for fabrics and materials. Sometimes you can find labels from Miss Selfridge, Next, Topshop, etc. those are usually better quality and cut. E.g. A size 14 or 16 skirt that doesn’t fit nor would I wear, I can use for a bodice piece or accessory crafting.

Pros: cheap good material, supporting a charity, cheap prototype/testing material or guidance pieces.

Cons: smell (fixed by a good wash), can take a while to find something decent, takes a lot of rummaging.

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

On a normal day I like to be as comfortable as possible whilst also accentuating some assets. E.g. a loose and long t-shirt or jumper and butt-hugging skinny jeans, flat shoes with comfortable soles and ankle support. I’m really into the strappy bra trend at the minute and I do like my autumn/winter colours, so any excuse to add them to the party. On a day after watching a little too much Pretty Little Liars I push the boat out a bit more than usual and will put anything together that makes me feel powerful and beautiful but also appropriate. That’s when I usually play more with accessories and hair. Most of the time I can’t seem to do anything productive without wearing a good pair of jeans though.

How do you go about finding your own style?

If it makes me happy to wear, I buy it. Unless I can’t afford it, in which case I die a little inside and then try to either find a cheaper version or study it, find patterns online and recreate it when I find the perfect material. Anything that I won’t see on anyone else makes me even happier. That’s why I like to shop on Amazon sometimes, and am learning embroidery to be able to add a little extra flavour to my favourite pieces. I think the biggest reason for my shift in style a couple years ago, was because I just wanted to be taken seriously for a change. I’d always been the “pretty girl with the perfect figure” told by society that I should wear underwired bras that push my boobs together and bodycon dresses to show off my hourglass shape, but I wasn’t taken seriously nor was I comfortable in every public space. So I traded the dresses in for jeans, the underwire for either nada or elastic-no-cups, and I found a love to cotton shirts, oversized jumpers and longline t-shirts. Now I’m always comfortable and it’s easier to be professional or productive.

Have you always been into fashion?

Yes. I find it exciting and interesting. Now that I have some knowledge of pattern-making and sewing, I have a newfound respect for designers and higher appreciation for garments. Fashion is so versatile and I truly do believe that it’s the first point of call for telling the world what you’re all about, your mood and how you want to be represented. However, I also think that fashion is meant to be fun and you should be able to enjoy it and be happy with whatever you choose to put on your back. Above all, wear what makes you comfortable and feel good.

What new pieces have you picked up for this Winter and Summer that we haven’t seen on your Instagram yet?

I mentioned before that I’m working on my own bespoke embroidery designs which I should be good enough to feature later this year, possibly even commission. I also have some materials, such as a large over-the-knee purple suede skirt, in stock that I’ve been wanting to work with but haven’t quite decided the perfect piece yet. I’m constantly on Pinterest saving ideas for inspiration. I also enjoy upcycling homeware goods so I may have a few pieces like that come up, or dog toys, who knows! My eyes are always seeing things, my brain is always thinking things, and my hands always want to be busy.

The first step will be re-categorising my wardrobe and building up a pile of things I don’t wear but want to use, and then a pile of what I am happy to alter, and then start drawing ideas and finding helpful aids online. It’s all a matter of what I can get my hands on and then come up with.

What are some of your current fashion obsessions?

Strappy/lacey bras definitely! I may have to get my hands on some delicate material and try my hand at making my own. I do love how a little bit of embroidery can really change the mood of a piece and that’s super on trend at the moment.

What are your favourite pieces of clothing?

Loose fitting, soft, longline t-shirts or long sleeve shirts. They’re just perfect all the time for every reason. I can go braless, I don’t have to worry about bloating, I can lounge, or match with skinny jeans, or stay in the house with no trousers at all! 

What could you not live without?

Leggings. All kinds of leggings. They’re a great, comfortable alternative to jeans or tights, cool enough in summer and still warm enough in winter (ish).

Do you have any career plans?

Not necessarily within fashion at the moment, but yes I want about 3 different careers; I would like to be a successful professional screenwriter or published author, I want to run a creative community to nurture and develop creative peoples’ interests, I want to become a qualified mental health counsellor delivering talk/non-prescription therapy to people battling with mental health problems.

Who was your first style icon?

Naturally, when I was younger, I looked to pop stars and movie stars for fashion guidance as many young women do. However, when emerging into adulthood it was actually my mum who inspired me to break away from what society says you should wear and just wear what makes you comfortable and confident. For the first time in her life, my mum actually bought clothes that weren’t conventional or sized, but made her really happy and wore them to her office job. She went from boring ‘normal’ office clothes to a cross between Judi Dench in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Lilly Tomlin in Grace and Frankie. There are no rules that say what you should wear, just lengths and levels of professionalism or smartness.

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

1. It allows me to get genuine opinions on what I craft from strangers and friends

2. It allows me to boast and showcase something I’m proud of when I’m in more than I am out

3. It’s a way of reminding myself what I’m capable of and how I felt about something whenever I may have forgotten, which makes me happy.

4. It’s a way of reaching out or ‘advertising’ if I need anything to help me progress

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

Way more pictures of my dogs because naturally. Light alterations when I hone my embroidery skills a little more. Perhaps some garden furniture or accessory upcycling. When I eventually join the gym during term time, I will probably try my hand at some sportswear pieces, showing them in action.

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

Be prepared for trolls and bots, they will come and it’s never pretty, just delete their hate and move on. Always be cautious with security and identity theft etc. report anything suspicious or outright wrong. Have fun with it, unless you have to portray a certain level of professionalism if it’s for a business, don’t take it too seriously because people prefer personality and intrigue to corporate and sensible. Stay within the legal and appropriate uses of the site so you can keep enjoying its values.

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

Stay true to what you want, take suggestions on board and be willing to here opinions but you can use and discard whatever you want. Art is subjective, if there is talent, there is always an audience.

That usually brings me down from breaking point if I’m struggling with something.

You can follow this lovely lady on her Instagram '@verena_hanley'. She is always posting wonderful fashion and modelling photographs. Photography by Emma Bowman. 

Emma Bridgewood

Emma Bridgewood graduated studying television. She is currently working in London and starting her career in television. I was lucky enough to interview Emma about her career plans and what she is currently up to.

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

Hi! Not a problem, I'm excited to be a part of your blog! I'm very well thanks. I've just got home from work and looking forward to a weekend off!

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I was born and raised in Reading, and went to University to study Media Production in Lincoln between 2013-2016. Now it's been just over a year since I graduated, and I am really enjoying the beginning of my career in Television!

Describe your style in three words. 

It's hard to describe everything I've done in 3 words as everything I've worked on has been quite varied so far, but I would probably say: - Creative - Fun - Diverse I adore your work.

What inspired you to start go into film-making and television?

When I was at school, I was involved in a local film making project called 'Project Postcode'. It was run by a local filmmaker, Mark Straker, who has sadly passed away since the making of the film. RG1 was an educational film about the dangers of knife crime, and aimed at teenagers who may be affected by it. During the project, I was able to shadow the director, and was lucky enough to make some film posters which were used to advertise the screening. This definitely sparked my interest in film and film making and I am very grateful I got to be a part of it! At school I was also studying Media Studies, making music videos and playing on Photoshop, which I loved. I decided it was something I was really passionate about, especially creating and filming my own videos, which eventually led to me getting into TV.

Have you always been into film and television?

When I was a kid, and possibly the shyest child in the world, I wanted to be an actress. Safe to say I went a different direction, but not entirely! I am always happy to jump in front of a camera when I can, and I did a bit of presenting when I managed Linc TV - the student television channel - at university. My Dad has appeared in a few TV shows, so I suppose since he was involved in those I sparked up an interest too. He took me on a tour around the BBC when I was a teenager, and took my friends and I to see Harry Hill's TV Burp being recorded, which was really fun!

How has your creative process changed since the start?

I'd say when I started filming things I used to be all about the planning, but now I love to be more experimental, and find inspiration when I've got my eye in the camera lens instead. Everyone's got their own way of doing it though! What equipment do you use for your work? For my personal film making projects I have a Canon 600D, with a Rode Rycote Videomic (though would advise a clip mic if you are interviewing someone for more crisp audio), a basic tripod, and a GoPro for any action shots. It's pretty basic, but gets the job done!

What equipment would you recommend for someone who wants to get into film-making?

Anyone starting out in film making, beg, borrow, and steal (less so steal though). Making a film does not have to be on the most expensive RED camera you ever saw, it can be on your phone, on your dodgy camera you got given when you were 15, it's all about the concept and evoking a reaction in your viewers (as long as it's not too blurry). If you're looking to invest in some equipment though, I'd say start off with a DSLR camera, because you can be versatile and take great pictures and videos without spending too much money. Then build up your camera with some extra lenses and external microphones as you go!

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

Social media is brilliant - I don't know what people would've done without it! It's so easy to upload your work, and share it with thousands of people within seconds. It also means you can connect with people all over the world, some of whom you never would've crossed paths with otherwise. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are also great for getting almost instant feedback for your work, to see what you can improve upon for next time.

Who inspires your work?

My work is inspired on the people behind each video, I try to show a realistic and interesting perspective of the things I film so audiences can relate and understand my work. Other people who have influenced my work are Mark Straker, who I mentioned earlier, Tim Burton, and of course my Dad who always has some words of wisdom and encouragement (though I don't always accept them)!

Why is television and film-making important to you?

Making films and short videos has become so much easier since everyone has mobile phones, and cameras to hand. Everyone has a story to tell, and I think making content is a great way of bringing people together from so many different backgrounds, whether they're starring in the video, making it, or even watching it at home. Some people think it's a bad thing that anyone can make their own film / TV show at home, but I think it's going to add more variety to our screens, and gives an opportunity for unknown Directors to exhibit their work in the future who may not have had the opportunity to do so otherwise.

What makes a good film?

A good film for me has a hidden message behind it, though I am also a sucker for a musical! My favourite film is called Big Fish, and if you've not seen it I strongly urge you to do so. The ending is brilliant, and there's so much going on creatively throughout the film that you are drawn into the fictional world of all the stories. I also love Les Miserables - maybe I just think all sad movies are good?

What are you currently working on?

I'm currently between projects actually, which happens a lot as a freelance! Last week I finished working on a show for ITV, and worked for a few days as a runner on a new series of a Saturday morning cookery show, so I'm enjoying a few days off. In a few weeks is my cousins wedding which my brother and I will be filming a video for, so I will probably start planning for that soon!

What's your typical working day?

My typical work day as a TV runner involves waking up pretty early, commuting to London, and then meeting a crew of people who I've not met before. Working in the media industry you've got to be good at building a positive impression very fast, so that means making a lot of teas when you arrive, and learning a lot of names! After the morning drink run, there's always paperwork to sort out, and some members of public or contributors then to welcome! You guessed it - that means more tea!

After that, there's a lot of running around after people, making sure everything is set up and everyone is happy and ready for filming. It's a pretty busy day, and the hours are normally long, but it's the people who make it great, and it's always so rewarding at the end of the day. The key to being a Runner is being observant - learn the routine of your crew, when they get busy and may need you to give them a hand, when they need certain props so you can be there with them, and make sure everyone is fed and watered to keep them happy! Also, you've got to keep calm as it's very fast paced. It's not for everyone, but I absolutely love it!

What are your career plans?

Having been a TV Runner for the past year, I'm hoping to move up soon to a Junior Researcher role for a Factual Entertainment show, and progress into becoming a Producer. Hopefully I can also fit some filmmaking around it all too!

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

I'd say the best creative advice I was ever given was in Design at University. The lecturers and tutors which I had were so creative, and always encouraged us to think outside the box, no matter how weird your idea was! It definitely applies to all media, and you shouldn't be afraid to show off your ideas.

If you would like to see what Emma is currently up to, you can take a look at her facebook page here 'www.facebook.com/emmabridgewoodm'. 

Berry smoothie

This gorgeous frozen fruit smoothie is thick and creamy, yet uses no dairy at all. This is a fantastic way to use up over-ripe bananas, as once frozen their flavour and texture is perfect for a smoothie. You can swap the honey for a vegan alternative. This recipe is vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free.

Ingredients

2 very ripe bananas, peeled, broken into chunks and frozen

200g (7oz) frozen berries

450ml (3/4 pint) rice, soya or nut milk

1 tbsp honey

Method

1  In a blender or food processor, blitz 1/4 of the frozen bananas and berries with half the rice milk until smooth.

2  Gradually add in the remaining banana chunks, berries, rice milk and honey until everything is smooth and very well combined, this may take a few minutes.

3  This recipe makes a thick smoothie. Simply add more rice milk for a lighter version. Serve immediately.

Izy Hossack

Summer heat is taking over London at the moment! I think we’re all pretty confused in the UK because we can’t complain about it being cold and rainy? Also I’ve been watching some of the Wimbledon tennis here & there and man, the poor tennis players must be having peak times in the 30-degree heat.

Ingredients

200 g (7oz) strawberries hulled

120 g (1 cup) plain white flour (all purpose flour) plus extra for dusting

120 g (1 cup) dark rye flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp granulated sugar plus extra for sprinkling

100 g unsalted buter cold, cubed

2 eggs

100 ml (1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp) plain yogurt plus extra for brushing

Method

1   Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F), line a baking tray with baking paper. Slice each strawberry into 3 or 4 slices. 

2  In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add the butter to the bowl and use your fingertips to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it’s mostly fine-textured with some pea-sized lumps of butter remaining.

3  Make a well in the middle of the ingredients and crack in the eggs and add the yogurt. Stir together just until you’ve mixed in most of the flour but there are still floury patches remaining. 

4  Dust a clean work surface with flour and tip the contents of the bowl out onto it. Dust the top of the dough with more flour and roll it out into a rectangle roughly 40 x 20 cm. Lay half of the sliced strawberries down the middle third of the dough. Fold the left third of the dough over the top of the strawberries to cover them. Lay the rest of the strawberries onto the flap of dough you just folded over. Fold the right third of the dough over these strawberries to cover them. You should end up with alternating layers going: dough, strawberries, dough, strawberries, dough.

5  Cut into 8 equal rectangles using a large knife or bench scraper. Spread them out over the baking paper so they aren’t touching. Brush the tops of the dough with a little yogurt and sprinkle with the extra sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes until dark golden. Serve warm.

https://topwithcinnamon.com

Sam Mathewson

Sam is an illustrator and designer. I was lucky enough to have an interview with Sam about his work and what he is currently up to. 

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

Very good thank you! 

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I started drawing as a kid and from there I did art at school and college finally doing illustration at university.

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

Dr. Suess and The Moomins, the illustrations in those books always made me so happy and I wanted to create my own worlds and creatures.

Have you always been into illustrations and design?

More or less it has always been illustration I dabbled in print making and photography and sometimes I use those methods in my work but it has always been illustration.

How has your creative process changed since the start?

I used to have a really stiff style and over the years I have let myself go and freed up my drawing and painting to the point now where it flows so much better.

What equipment do you use for your work?

Drawing inks with a nib pen and paint brushed but I have also recently started using watercolours which I am finding amazing to use.

What tools or materials could you not live without?

Watercolour paper, I could always use any paint to hand but I wouldn't be able to function without watercolour paper.

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

Instagram has been amazing for me, I have been able to show my work and my process' off to a wide audience *cough* zombiesharkillustration *cough* (can I promote it here?)

Who inspires your work?

4 artists have always been my main inspiration Alex Pardee, Tove Jansson, Junji Ito and Yoshitaka Amano, I have always found inspiration from the sea which you can 'sea' in my work and Norse art and mythology.

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

I have two pieces that I will always always love, one is a painting of a girl in an orange coat in the snow that my friend Josh Filhol did for me and the other is a batman painting by Alex Pardee.

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

Many more watercolour experiments and some really cool projects I am working on.

What are your career plans?

I have downplayed my illustration to a secondary thing as I work a normal job but I do hope to gain enough momentum to become self employed as a freelancer.

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to start drawing or creating illustrations?

Never stop drawing, it is a constant process of growing and learning so if you have the passion then never stop. Also if someone doesn't like or 'get' your work then just move past them and continue on.

Do you have any advice for designers?

Be yourself never make yourself fit someone else’s style or process just to make people happy.

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

The best piece of advice I got given is draw every single day even if it's just a doodle.

You can follow Sam on his wonderful Instagram '@zombiesharkillustration'. You will be able to see a lot of illustrations and designs on his Instagram page. Not forgetting exciting new ideas.

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. 

Becky Lee

Becky Lee is an illustrator and designer. She works for a company called Jungle Creations as a DIY Hack and Craft Creative. I was lucky enough to interview Becky about her work and career plans.

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

I’m good thank you!

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I've grown up in the countryside and always loved being outdoors and being around nature and plants. I then went to uni and studied illustration where I really found my forte in botanical style pattern making.

Have you always been into illustrations and design?

I've always been into illustration, for as long as I can remember i've loved drawing.

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

When I first started studying art I wasn’t sure what my style was and I tended to go for hyper realistic drawing styles but sometimes I’d get frustrated and work for days on tiny canvases trying to make my drawings and paintings look right but I learnt it wasn’t worth my frustrations and started to be a bit looser with my drawing and let my mind wander.

What equipment do you use for your work?

I start off all of my work traditionally with an acrylic painting and then I take them into Photoshop and duplicate different paintings into patterns ultimately for them to be printed onto fabrics.

What tools or materials could you not live without?

I couldn't live without the basics, pencil, paintbrush, paint. But I also couldn't live without fabric, needle and thread.

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

Social media has been important for me to use as a way of networking and getting my work out to potential clients.

Who inspires your work?

A lot of people have inspired me over the years one key practitioner is definitely William Morris! But I take a lot of my inspiration from whatever is around me.

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

At the moment I love house of hackney, I’d love to have a home furnished with all of their products.

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

At the moment i've taken a little bit of time away from my art pages as i've just graduated but I will continue to make tropical prints and make furnishing products from them. I love the job I'm in but I want to get back into freelance work too when I have time, I’d like to get more into the interior design side of things.

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to start drawing or creating illustrations?

Always start off with doodles and think of a piece of work you really like, take your inspiration from there.

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

Watch current trends but don't think your work has follow them, do something different.

You can find this lovely lady on the following links ‘https://www.instagram.com/beckylee_art/’ and ‘http://rebeccalee100.wixsite.com/beckyleeillustration’.

Thea Billings

Thea is currently in her last year of university studying Criminology and Sociology. As well as her studying, she has a love for fashion. I was lucky enough to have an interview with Thea about her style.

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

I am good thank you! I am currently working on the final stages of my dissertation so slightly stressed but overall in good spirits!

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I grew up in Wiltshire constantly surrounded by the countryside and pets. Currently though, I am in my third year of university studying Criminology and Sociology.

Describe your style.

When I was younger I used to be fixated on choosing a style to abide by and went through a phase of trying to be ‘scene’, ’indie’ and ‘sloane’ all at once. As you can imagine those styles don’t really mix but I’ve learnt along the way to incorporate different aspects of styles that I enjoy. At the moment I try and dress smart but relaxed.

When did you start getting into fashion?

I’ve always had an interest in clothes but when I was 14/15 my dad used to get the train to Reading everyday and he became friends with a lady who always read Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Once she was done with them she would give them to my dad and I would look over them and then make collages of all the things I loved in them.

Where are your favourite places to shop?

I’m one of those people that love window shopping so places like Liberty’s that are pleasing to the eye are my absolute favourites to visit. But I do love TKmaxx because they have all sorts to find including my favourite notebooks that are seemingly only sold there! I also almost always find something in places like H&M or Monki.

What inspired you to get into vintage fashion?

I wanted to find clothing pieces that not everybody would have in my town and part of that was achieved through looking towards vintage fashions.

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

I’d be very hypocritical if I said yes! I used to really want to be able to make my own clothes but I never got past being able to make a cushion. I do think however that it is an incredible skill and that you can really develop your own style if you have that skill and ability.

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

Don’t be afraid to touch and feel things. I’m someone who finds it really important to feel the texture of everything I’m looking at before making a choice and although it can look slightly strange stroking everything, it helps me make the best choices.

My other tip is don’t be afraid to look at all the areas. If what you find is in the ladies section or the men section, if it looks and feels good get it! Just because it was in another section doesn’t mean you can’t wear it.

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

First and foremost you are supporting a charity in some way but also you are giving that clothing a second lease of life and love when its journey has come to an end with its previous owner. It’s like an eternal cycle for that piece of clothing!

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

I find a full length mirror to be very useful as you can see an outfit in its entirety and what does and does not fit with the overall look. Annoyingly, at University I do not own a full length mirror but I do use an app called Wave Cam which is a hands free camera - oh so useful! Before I found the app I tended to select a key piece and place other clothes next to it and piece my way through my wardrobe; this ended up with a very messy room though!

Other than that I often think about what might go together just before I go to sleep or when I first wake up.

How did you go about finding your own style?

As I previously mentioned I used to be so focused upon wanting to fit into one style genre that nowadays I’ve learnt that you can take nods to specific aspects of a style whether that be classic indie skinny black jeans paired with a relaxed blue shirt or a black preppy skirt matched with a cat sitting in a watermelon t-shirt!

Have you always been into fashion?

Not necessarily fashion but I’ve always been obsessed with clothes. My mother has always had a shopping habit and I used to love sneaking into her room and trying them all on. It wasn’t until I was about 13 that I started to take an interest in specific fashions.

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

I recently purchased a black circle skirt that fits perfectly with the transition from winter to spring. I have also bought a maroon long sleeve t-shirt that admittedly is fairly autumnal but is perfect for those slightly colder days.

What are some of your current fashion obsessions?

I think they’re getting slightly outdated now but I must admit I love a good choker and pinafore dress. I have an outfit that I never posted onto Instagram which encapsulated my winter vibes pretty well that included a check pinafore dress with a forest green long sleeve t-shirt.

What are your favourite pieces of clothing?

My favourite pieces are constantly changing but at the moment I would say my Dr Marten boots. They are fleeced inside right down to the toes and so are the cosiest things to wear! I also have a checkered shirt that looks like a farmer could own it which I absolutely adore, it goes with so many different pieces.

What could you not live without?

There are two things I could not live without. The first are a pair of black skinny jeans; they have been a staple in my wardrobe for so many years I don’t think I will ever stop wearing them! Currently I have two pairs; a high-waisted pair from ASOS which I’ve bought to slowly replace the other pair and so far I have been very pleased with them.

My second pair is an almost legging type from Pilcro and the letterpress. I got these from my old job and they fit me so well that I don’t want to get rid of them but unfortunately there are a few too many holes peaking though to get away with wearing them!

The second item I could not live without are Ballet flats. I feel like they are a basic staple to every wardrobe. The two which I currently wear the most are a blue pair from Franchetti Bond and a gold pair from French Sole. By far I most regularly wear the gold pair as they jazz up any outfit as well as being so comfortable.

Do you have any career plans?

Nothing entirely stable! My dream would be to own a cookbook bookshop and cafe one day so since I finish university soon I would quite like to work in a bookshop like Waterstones to learn about the bookshop world.

Do you have a favourite fashion magazine?

Since I was 15 I’ve had a subscription to Vogue magazine, I feel like they have interesting pieces and creative photoshoots. When I was younger I entertained the idea of being a fashion/creative director and I enjoyed Vogue’s approach the most.

Who was your first style icon?

This is a tricky question because I accrued a number of style icons in such quick succession I don’t remember who came first! But I do remember really loving Agyness Deyn, Amber Le Bon, Freja Beha Erichsen and Twiggy the most.

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

I honestly feel that I don’t use social media to its full potential. I feel like it’s an important platform because it gives people a voice especially those that otherwise may not have been given one and that is something I under utilise. It also allows the individuals creativity to flow in ways that it previously may not have been available to so many people.

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

Having just finished and really enjoying my week of #ootd I think you can expect to see a least a few more of those on the horizon! I am heading to Glastonbury this year so there will certainly be a wave of Glasto overload. And of course a sickening amount of photos of my pets!

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

Don’t be too restrictive! I know that for some people having an Instagram theme has brought them success and popularity but I also know that they can also feel too restricted and ultimately quash their creativity by boxing themselves into a tight section! I also say just have fun. It is after all just Instagram!

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

‘Who really cares?’

You can follow this lovely lady on her Instagram ‘theodorajbee’.  She is always posting wonderful outfits and inspiration. Photography by Louisa Hall. 

Maria Blackstone

As promised a recipe or three that I’ve had stored in my mind (and notes on my phone) for a while now. I really should get a recipe book to write down all these things. There’s something about paper and handwriting I like, seeing as all is digital these days. How old do I sound, like my mum. Sorry mum. But it’s true, nothing beats a piece of paper and a pen.

These recipes are perfect for the summer days which we all long for. Great accompaniments to our love of BBQ’s. A pineapple Salsa – inspired by a dish from my favourite Thai restaurant, an aubergine dip – made by my mother, and beetroot hummus – which to tell you the truth was a bit of an experiment. They are quick, require little skill, equipments and ingredients but will jazz up your barbecues a treat.

Pineapple Salsa

This salsa reminds me of one of my favourite dishes from a local thai restaurant. It is a pineapple, chicken and prawn salad served in the pineapple. This was my take on this, so would be perfect with chicken, or prawns or served over a simple salad.

Ingredients

1/2 Ripe & Juicy Pineapple

1 Red Chilli

Small Handful of Mint Leaves

Zest and Juice of 1 Lime

1tbsp caster sugar (or to taste)

Handful of Cashew Nuts, chopped and toasted

Method

1  Simple peel, and chop the pineapple into small chunks. Finely chop the mint leaves. Finely dice the chilli.

2  Add the pineapple, mint, lime and cashew nuts into a bowl. Add chilli to taste depending on how hot you like it and add the sugar to taste. The sugar removes the sharpness. It helps to leave the salsa to marinate for around half an hour or more to let the flavours infuse.

3  Place in your serving dish, and sprinkle with more nuts, chilli and mint.

Beetroot Hummus

This was a bit of an experiment to tell the truth, I love beetroot, and love hummus but was bored of the plain hummus I tend to have quite often. This dip has quite an earthy taste, one which not everyone may like. It is perfect with fish such as mackerel, or simply served with some seedy crisp breads.

Ingredients

380g Tin/Carton of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2tbsp Lemon Juice

1tbsp Horseradish sauce

2 Large beetroots cooked and peeled and roughly chopped

Method

1  Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until as smooth as you like it. Season to taste, and add more lemon/horseradish dependent on how you like it! Simple!

Aubergine Dip

This was something my mum whipped up with a left over aubergine knocking about in the fridge. Super tasty and perfect served with warm flatbreads as a little appetiser.

Ingredients

1 Aubergine

Tbsp cream cheese or total greek yoghurt

Juice and Zest of a small Lemon

Method

1  Cut the aubergine in half lengthways, and drizzle with a little oil, roast in the oven at 200c for about 40 minutes until soft. Turn off the oven and leave to cool.

2  Scoop out the flesh and blend in a processor with the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3   Serve with some warm flatbreads, and some other chargrilled vegetables.

Don’t forget to follow my Instagram to keep up to date with my foodie adventures. 

Danielle Cornell

Danielle Cornell is a musician and has a love for vintage. I was lucky enough to have an interview with Danielle about her music and career plans.

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

I am well, thank you!

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I’m 28 years old. I live in Southern California with my husband and kitty. I currently work and in my spare time when I am not relaxing I love creating. Whether it be songs, working on artistic projects, writing and whatever comes to me. I love delving into topics that inspire me and exploring beautiful places with my husband.

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

Thank you so much for listening and supporting my music, truly.

Even as a child I would write songs in my secret notebook and sing them to myself. I think I’ve always had a secret passion for songwriting. However, what truly inspired me and urged me to pick up a guitar and learn, was a very pivotal time in my life. I developed crippling anxiety and depression filled with terrible physical symptoms and derealization. In my lowest of low, I could not stop thinking of others who were in my position and I wanted to learn to play the guitar so that I could sing and express everything I held inside so others wouldn’t feel alone.

What was the first tune(s) you learned?

I can’t quite recall the first song I learned. It was most likely a simple folk song or hymn.   When I first began to play I knew about three chords and I would just write songs with the same chord throughout the whole song. I just wanted to play anything so that I could add the words to it.

What instruments can you play?

I feel terribly modest answering this question! I still don’t see myself as an amazingly talented musician who knows all the ins and outs of everything. However, that doesn’t stop me from wanting to play anything and trying it anyway! With that being said, I mainly play guitar and piano. I also play Appalachian dulcimer and banjolele. I have a harp that I hope to tackle someday as well as a zither and a wooden flute I paid a dollar for. My husband builds instruments that are mainly inspired by ancient European ones. Some that he has built me are: Icelandic Fidla, lyre, Langeliek. I still have quite a ways to go to fully learn and create with these instruments but I love them. Between my husband and I both, we have quite a collection building.

Who inspires your work?

Anyone who perseveres through their sufferings and shortcomings or creates something beautiful. Whether it be a dear friend of mine, a songwriter, a writer, poet, painter etc. There are beautiful people everywhere. A few inspirations to name: Hans Christian Andersen, Joanna Newsom, Rumi, Mary Oliver, John Keats, Hellen Keller, Emily Dickinson, J.M.W Turner and many more. 

How would you describe your style?

It is very much a mix of everything I love and my authentic self.

What do you enjoy most about your music?

The honesty above all. Writing something directly from my heart and bringing it to life so that I can share it with others or even myself and keep as a memory for another time and place.

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

It has helped me immensely to reach and relate to others and to connect with so many different, beautiful people.

What's been key to achieving your goals?

Not setting limitations on them, taking everything one moment at a time and listening to my heart.

Were you influenced by old records or tapes?

I definitely was/am. There is a timelessness to many old things.

Do you have any career plans for your music?

I don’t really. The thought of that is quite overwhelming to me. I really, truly just want to create if I can, send it out into the world and hope it reaches the right people.

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

Hopefully more music! I really want to record another album. It’s already written and I’ve been wanting to for so long but haven’t quite made the time for it yet. So hopefully we will see something new! Possibly even a video here and there.

Do you have any advice for anyone going into music?

My advice would be to just do it and be yourself. Don’t let self-doubt or fear keep you from expressing your heart. I was not and I am still not a perfect musician. I don’t know everything or the “right way” to compose everything. I’ve learned that you can create something meaningful just by being who you are and trying. Just try.

How do you balance your music with other obligations?

Music is an outlet and form of expression just as any art form. I sing when I feel I need to and just pursue it in my free time. I wish I had more free time to pursue it but that just makes every moment I do play more meaningful. Sometimes I am too tired and worn down to play for periods of time. I always come back to it though.

How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

I have not performed in quite a while but I normally feel a bit embarrassed and keep going forward anyway. I feel like I constantly make mistakes. I’ve learned to accept that    and just roll with it.

Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?

Incredibly nervous!

Do you have any advice for anyone learning to play an instrument?

A bit of the same advice as I previously mentioned. Just pick up the instrument and get a feel for it. Perhaps look up some online videos or tutorials if you are nervous about learning from someone. I feel once you’ve learned the basics of one instrument it can help you to learn other instruments as well. Also, just keep practicing. Things take time and you will eventually get used to it and it will get easier and easier as anything you learn.

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

To be yourself. A very simple and powerful thing.

You can follow this lovely lady on her Instagram ‘incalico’ and website ‘iamthedaisy.bandcamp.com’. 

Ellie McDowell

Ellie is an aspiring fashion photographer. She is currently working on her film photography, as showcased throughout her Instagram. I was lucky enough to have a little interview with Ellie about her photography and career plans.

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

Hi Rhiannon, I'm doing well.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

Well I'm from a small town in North Carolina, and started taking photos just for fun with a cereal box film camera I got when I was 4. Eventually the interest just kept growing to a point where I thought my silly photos were good enough to share.

Describe your style in three words.

Sporadic vintage experience, ha!

I adore your work. What inspired you to start taking photographs?

Well I've always loved film photography. I think to this day I can count the number of photos I've taken on a digital camera, so I'm an old fashioned purist! I am so inspired by William Eggleston's portraiture, the polaroids of Andy Warhol, and the street photography of Vivian Maier. There's just something so real in their art, they completely capture human emotions, and they lived in my favorite time periods, where the cars, fashion, and lifestyle was so extravagant.

Have you always been into photography?

Yes I have been. That camera I got when I was 4 resulted in my near death after I fell down a flight of brick stairs trying to take a picture of my mother. And ever since then I've been beyond interested in collecting old cameras, developing my own film, and taking photos that are outside of the traditional digital shots & heavy editing.

How has your creative process changed since the start?

I think my creative process has changed a lot since I started. I like to think I've become more professional, and with that the way I plan my photos has changed. I used to draw inspiration from old movies, and try to recreate the aesthetic from them, and now I have broken away from that process and allowed myself to be more original; and to create my own inspiration.

What equipment do you use for your work?

I work mainly with two 35mm cameras, and one Polaroid. My go-to camera is my Canon AE1 Program, which was one of my first more professional film cameras. I also tend to use a Nikon EM because I've found it's easier to just snap photos as I'm going, and my trusty Polaroid SX-70, both of which were gifted to me from my boyfriend! I'm currently experimenting with a Nikkormat FT. I wish I had something exciting to say about the kind of film I use, but I tend to just use Fujifilm, since it's sold widely at drugstores where I live.

What equipment could you not live without?

I definitely couldn't live without my Canon. That camera has been with me for ages, and before that, my mom shot on it way before I was even born. I also probably couldn't live without my SX-70. Instant photography is so different from 35mm, but I love both.

When did you start getting into film photography?

I started seriously getting into film photography about four years ago, I would get all my photos developed at CVS before they stopped developing and it would cost so much that I would be very limited to how many rolls I could take at a time (being a 14 year old,) and I think that taught me that every exposure is important.

How do you develop your film photographs?

I develop color using a C-41 Powder Kit, and B&W with Adox Rodinal. I've found it's easiest to use a tent darkroom to put the film into the developing tank. I've also experimented with developing film using coffee and vitamin C.

How do you go about taking your film photography?

Typically I plan out my shoots ahead of time if I'm shooting portraits, and I try to picture one of my friends in the photos, and then I plan the rest around that one idea.

For your film photography do you think carefully about the clothing, setting and models?

I do! For portraits I try to plan everything ahead. If I'm shooting for a deadline or a publication I try to have everything planned. Photos that I'm taking just for fun are less planned out, and sometimes I like those better. I'm currently really interested in styling, and I've been trying to incorporate that interest into my photos, without them becoming solely fashion photographs. The setting for my photos is a little different where I live, it's a small town so if I'm limited in the places I can shoot, but I've made it work. I also adore taking photos when I'm traveling, and that's what I've been doing recently.

What equipment would you recommend for someone who wants to get into photography?

I would recommend getting a simple to use 35mm camera! Canon has made a lot of good beginner cameras, and all of theirs are really sturdy. I would also recommend getting a good flash, because I started without a flash, and some of my photos were just too dark. I don't really mess around with professional lighting, but depending on what kind of photography you're interested in, they are worth the investment. Just know film photography isn't cheap if you don't develop it yourself. I went into it not knowing that and wasted a lot of money on rolls of film that just didn't turn out well.

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

I only really use two social media platforms, Instagram and Facebook, and they have both been so important in giving my art an audience. Over the years my followers on Instagram have put up with my obsessive posting and I've met so many other up and coming photographers on Instagram!

Who inspires your work?

I talked a little about this earlier, but William Eggleston has, hands down, been my biggest influence. I am completely enamored by his work, and I'm always seeing photos of his that I've never seen before. In terms of modern day artists, I adore the work of Dana Trippe (@trippydana) on Instagram, and Phoebe Jane Barrett, (@softestmorning.)

Why is photography important?

Photography is important because it can be anything you want it to be. It's an art form that's completely in the hands of the artist. You could solely take photos of mountain goats, pot pies, or mountains, and it's still an interesting art form. The thing that makes film important is that it's a dying art form, and it's easy to manipulate, meaning the finished piece can be in any form.

What makes a good photograph?

I don't think there's one thing that makes a photograph good, I think it's in the eye of the beholder, any photo can be viewed as art, there are no rules, and that's what makes it so good!

Do you have any favourite pieces of photography that you adore at the moment?

Right now I love basically anything that Phoebe Jane Barrett has been putting out, she is an amazing instant photographer and all her shots capture these solemn emotions that are perfect for instant film. I'm also really digging all the portraits that Ryan Coyle (@ryanfromdreamland) has been taking. His photos are out of this world, the colors are amazing, especially one he took of a girl and her roller skates, that's probably my favorite photo right now.

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

Probably a lot of traveling photos! I'm currently taking a gap year before college and my plan is to take as many photos as possible as I travel around, both in the United States, and internationally. I have some secret work lined up with a couple of clothing lines, which I'm really excited for! But my typical shots of my girlfriends in my clothes will continue to be posted, it seems like those are the ones people like the best.

Do you have any career plans?

I think so! I'm going to be attending School of the Art Institute of Chicago next year, and I hope to study film photography there, and maybe go on to become a photojournalist! I also have always had a passion for English and writing, so who knows what I'll end up doing. As long as I've got my camera and some books, I'll be content.

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

I would say just go for it! I'm more active on Instagram as a photographer. I would say not to take it too seriously, and if you're wanting to have a page solely for your work, make a separate personal account. It's fun to post silly photos every once in a while. And don't worry about how many followers/friends/likes you have. As long as you like the content that you're putting out, you shouldn't worry about how popular your page is.

Do you have any advice for photographers?

Keep film alive! If you shoot only digital, maybe try film out every once in a while. And for film photographers, try developing it yourself or incorporating mixed media into your art. I've been really into watercolors on film prints but the options are limitless!

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into film photography?

Go out and buy a film camera and a roll of cheap film and just take photos. Film cameras can be found anywhere, from online to cheap thrift stores, and more times than not, they still work. If you're starting out with no knowledge at all, just experiment! That's the best way to learn.

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

This sounds cheesy but to not give up. When I first started instant photography, and even now, I would get so frustrated that my photos were too light, too dark, or not focused. Alex always told me not to give up and that it just takes time and practice to get better. And I think that applies to all kinds of photography.

If you would like to follow updates, please take a look at her wonderful Instagram ‘https://www.instagram.com/elliegwyneth/”. Ellie is constantly posting updates of her fashion photography and using film cameras. 

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. 

Anna Ward

Photo Album and Journal Making

One of my favourite parts about photography is what you do with the pictures once you’ve taken them — it’s not really possible to frame every single picture but I still love to look at my pictures, but not always on a laptop or camera screen. Recently I’ve been making lots of new photo albums and I’ve taken up journalling/scrapbooking as a more general hobby.

I think my passion for scrapbooking and photo albums definitely started when I studied Photography A Level — we had to document all of our work in a massive sketchbook and presenting my photos and making mood boards was always so much fun. It’s always lovely to look back through your albums and see how your work has evolved and changed, and I always have such fond memories of the pictures I’ve taken.

This week I made an album of photos from my first year of university — I always take one of my 35mm cameras with me to university as I love taking film photos! The most exciting part is that you never know what you’re going to get back when your film is developed, and the prints are perfect for making albums with. I’ve been typing up little captions for the photos on my typewriter — it’s nice to write little memories that go with the photos so that I’ll have something nice to remember in years to come. University especially is such an exciting time, which is why I wanted to document it in my albums — I’ve met so many lovely new people and done so many amazing things (including working properly as a photographer at so many events!)

I’ve also loved making journals and scrapbooks of all of my travels and holidays. I was lucky enough to go to Paris this summer with my friend Niamh, and it was one of the best holidays I have ever had! Both Niamh and I brought journals with us, and packed glue and scissors so we could make our journals on the go — we started as soon as we got onto the Eurostar! I’m never very good with words and I have always found that my diaries sound boring and a little cliché, so my journals are more of a visual memory of my trip. I keep absolutely everything: train tickets, postcards, museum leaflets, magazine cuttings, and collate them all together in a little scrapbook. Not only are they nice to look back on, I find that they’re actually super useful too — before the trip I planned all our transport and glued in maps of the places we were going to go and I had somewhere to write everything down when we were out and about!