75 - Advice



Sowing the seeds of good future, growth and beauty...

I'm trying to start living my life by the sort of information or advice I'd give to my children. I often find I'm telling them things and wondering why I don't live by the idea or concept myself.

You need to go to sleep now I say, it's eight. Whyyyyyy mama? she says. Why can't I just stay up a leeeetle bit longer? Because to be healthy you need to get lots of sleep I say (it's a potted version of a much bigger answer but I figure on a four year old it'll do). Half past two in the morning I finally make it to bed after packing lots of orders up. Silly (hypocritical) mama.

We become wise beyond our means when someone else's life depends on it yet unable to furnish ourselves with the same love, attention and knowledge (and often, compassion). Be kind to yourself, sow the seeds of wisdom in your own soul that you would impart on your children. Go to bed early, sometimes.

74 - Words


Quite often I find myself wanting to share something. Some choice idea or words of wisdom, some train of thought or words that popped into my head. That's usually where they stay, in my head. I become overwhelmed by the idea of finding time to "blog" because in my mind "blogging" has to be carefully thought out words and some pretty fancy imagery to go with, and so I end up not sharing anything.

I took a long walk this morning rather than my eight minute (six on a "good" day) walk/rush from school to work and I had an epiphany ("ten minutes over at Elton John's and you're..." - enough Love Actually quoting...).

You see, in my head, the swirly space where all of my thoughts run around as if in the Large Hadron Collider, crashing together, sometimes forming something beautiful, sometimes doing nothing at all, "blogging" and by default "bloggers" are taste makers or tellers, they tell people who and what to like and what's hip right now. I guess in my head they are a bit like the mean girls in high school that thrive on being ring leaders with minions who hang off their every word. Perhaps being a bit mean to the folk who are genuinely just sharing thoughts, but there-in lies the epiphany. A blog doesn't have to conform, to any pattern or ideal, it's just a space. In this case, my space (ha! I'm sure someone could do something with that, kinda catchy...). "Bloggers" don't have to be a specific odd sub-species of human, they're just the same as everyone else really. 

I don't like rules. I'm not very good with rules at all in fact, so from today on, gone. No more rules. No feeling like I HAVE to put images with my words, no more feeling like I can't pop in with a random thought train. Want images? I have Instagram that serves well on that matter...

73 - TGLE in Pictures



It seems that Charlie Gladstone and Co figured out the answer to the age old question of when to have a festival to be guaranteed a gorgeous summers day - have your festival in autumn!

The Good Life Experience was our last camping trip 'til next year, I'm missing being under canvas already. So long summer, you were a good one!

72 - Quitters


- A person who gives up easily or does not have the courage or determination to finish a task:
'he’s no quitter'

I have a sneaky suspicion that at some point in the future that word will be re-defined in the dictionary, and a feeling that the new definition will originate from now.

Let me explain...
I wanted to write a review of The Good Life Experience and have struggled. A mix of already having written this one last year (it would be easy to duplicate the good points) and the wealth of reviews out there with intimidatingly beautiful images (my photography skills continue to be my Achilles heel) and fairly similar glowing reports of free fair rides aplenty, good times under canvas, fresh air and inspiration to get out more and learn new skills have caused "writers block".

That all in mind, I've decided to push on past the photography issue (I'll be doing a round-up later this week as you'll notice there are no images with this post) and get on with it as I wanted to write about the real stars of the show...

Public Service Broadcasting have left us dancing our way to school in the mornings, the Mr's hand is just about healed from where Small sliced in to him during the whittling session with Whittling and Wonder and I'm feeling ready to take on bigger challenges with abseiling after realising that not only do I have no fear when it comes to dangling off a rope at height, but that I also actually really liked it. I also felt so inspired by The Printing Bike Project (and finally meeting Nick Hand after seeing an exhibit designed by him for a public toilet block over a decade ago, loving the Howies "catalogues" that he's worked on and becoming mutual Instagram followers more recently) that I now have an unshiny and old Adana press sat at the end of my desk having finally made the leap to procure one. Music, talks, workshops and fair rides aside, I can't help but feel that the actual real stars of the show are the quitters.

Charlie Gladstone who quit his job in the music industry and Caroline Gladstone who quit her job as a designer at Laura Ashley to live the good life in Scotland to raise a family and a business venture (to become a fleet of business ventures including Pedlars, TGLE, Magnificent Hound, The Glynne Arms and the farm shop), as well as a whole host of speakers and makers who have "quit" in some way shape or form to live "the good life" (I also see a lot of this in the individuals and indie businesses that I work with either collaboratively or as stockists which is wonderful).

I felt a huge sense of pride, walking around the festival and meeting people who had quit their "day job" to follow their dreams and create something, to also call myself a quitter (I quit working as an in-house designer in a marketing team with an almost weekly turnover of throwaway ad campaigns to create things that people would love and want to keep). It was a privilege to meet so many talented and passionate people who not only care about what they do immensely but also care about sharing their trade and their story with others. It's easy to sit as I write this and feel really quite overwhelmed and emotional about the shift in culture that is going on at the moment, the transformation of people from quietly busy office workers and paper pushers to being part of a tribe, people who work and play together with a common interest and who are sharing their stories around campfires and passing on their knowledge. It is a marvellous thing to see evolution unravelling a little to a place that is of conversation, story telling and apprenticing once again.

I feel truly inspired by the shape of things right now and have never been more excited about being a maker and part of a new (r)evolution than I have coming home from a weekend of new connections, chilly nights, relaxed days and good music at this year's Good Life Experience.


Further reading/links:
Read all about the journey Nick Hand and Robin Mather took to the birth place of movable type with The Printing Bike Project.

Luke Hope from Whittling and Wonder via his store "Hope in the Woods".

The adventures of Ben Fogle.

Peckham Print Studio have a meticulous attitude to their work and an infectious enthusiasm for what they do.

Pedlars - Pedlars World is probably overlooked as a blog in its own right but is a great read and a good reflection of the Pedlars brand and ethos.

Simple Things magazine - After being a magazine addict for years I sort of converted to Instagram for connections directly with people and to hear more of the stories that interested me and be able to dip in and out when the chance arises rather than feel bad about another magazine that popped through the door three weeks ago I haven't found time to read. I'm hopeless at setting time aside to get in to things like this and if I do it's probably for a good book instead. That having said, I met Guy Foreman who is one of the co-founders of the magazine and liked his ethos very much.

Alex Pole Ironwork - I am in awe of people that can work with that kind of heat and not burn themselves. I also imagine if you ever want to rob a bank that this guy will be your man as I doubt he has any fingerprints left with the way he handles his work...

Miscellaneous Adventures - Andrew is handy with an axe and knife and teaches people his craft, Emma is great with a piece of waxed cotton and some thread AND makes some awesome dutch oven chilli nachos.

Xanthe Berkley - always happy to chat and inspirational on capturing images.

71 - Instagram


Alfies Studio Instagram  - work and life shared online
Alfies Studio Instagram  - a mix of life, work, adventures and botanical findings

I seem to live my life in 640px squares at the moment. Always looking for the next capture, addicted to sharing my finds.


It could possibly be seen as a slightly unhealthy obsession - that compulsion to just have another look at what's new in your feed... (because something monumental may have gone off in Instaworld in the three minutes since you last checked - right?). Be that as it may, it's also a lifeline to solopreneurs, a marketing tool for the mini brands with no marketing department (or endless buckets of cash) and a way of meeting likeminded individuals without being thought of as a geek or serial killer.

I'm not great at blogging, any of you who've been checking in here for a while know that my posting is sketchy at best, that words don't always come particularly easy to me, but Instagram, that I can do.

If you don't already, head on over to Instagram to follow my account where I post regularly on life, work and my fascination with botanicals. Reach out and say hello, that is my very favourite part of Instagram, finally social media that is actually social.

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