A good few weeks ago now, we had 'Meet the Artists' happening at The Beecroft Art Gallery, in my local town of Southend-on-Sea. I often pinch myself with my job as a Visitor Engagement Officer in my local museum service. I feel so blessed to have a job where I can share my deep thoughts on art and history. It's the perfect job for me! So I was most excited to have a chat with Jennie about her work in the current Double Take exhibition.
Upon thinking of the title of the exhibition, I love how it all fits together. The literal double, as in two artists on show. Jennie's and Simon Monk. But both artists have different reasons why you might look, then look again. I identified more with Jennie's work and this blog will mostly be about my connection and reactions to her work. But I still appreciated Simon's work.
Simon's 'double take' is the fact his are all trick of the eye pieces that upon first glance, just look like paintings on wooden boards. But the more you look, the more they reveal an amazing 3D effect. Some of the pieces you need to stand and wait for you eyes to adjust and then they really pop out of the wood canvases! Such as these 'hold tight' pieces. I haven't taken any pics of Simon's work, but seeing a flat photo on a screen really wouldn't do it any justice anyway! You need to check his work out for yourself! If you're local to Southend then I'd recommend a visit to the Beecroft, the exhibition is still on until 28/5/23! Alternatively, you can check out more on his website here.
After shutting down my Etsy shop and leaving the Indie Roller community of creative indie biz owners, I felt a little lost. I think as humans, we have an innate desire to belong and be a part of something perhaps, bigger than ourselves. Being a part of somewhere we can find like minded people and share our thoughts, feelings, ideas around any given subject. Be it hobbies, faith, intellectual, arts and culture, creativity and so on. As a highly sensitive person and a deep thinking introvert, I really thrive in an environment where I can share all my inner ramblings, spark discussion and just enjoy everyone's different points of view. A place to inspire and be inspired, excite and get excited but also find comfort and support for things I may be struggling with. People I can relate to that get what I'm rambling on about! It's one of the reasons I write this blog. I often have a lot of thoughts to process and putting it down on here is one of those outlets. When we find that place of connection within the right community, it can work wonders for our general well being and sense of self.
In my search for a new online community to replace the Indie Roller hole I suddenly found myself with, I stumbled across the Anti-Burnout Club run by Bex Spiller. It's centred mostly around mindfulness/wellness including things such as Yoga/Pilates, breath work/meditation but also central themes that come in the way of 'challenges' to sign up for. I joined for the 'Summer of self-confidence' challenge that started this year in 2021. It's a lovely online community that is full of like-minded people who want to grow and work on themselves using all of the lessons and techniques that are part of the content Bex produces.
It's been so long since I last wrote a blog, I don't know where to start. Especially since the world has been upside down for the past year or so. I have had so many emotions throughout this whole Covid 19 pandemic and have wanted to sit down and write a blog about all of it many times. But, as I think it has been for most through all of this, I've mainly been living in survival mode and collecting my thoughts enough to write some kind of coherent ramblings has obviously proved too much thus far.
One of the biggest themes for me has been about a sense of disconnection. The lack of physical contact, being shut off from everyone through all the lockdowns and this constant fear of catching/spreading the virus which turns into the biggest anxiety when just being around other people. It's all been too much. It really struck me when our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, revealed the recent 'roadmap' out of restrictions here in the UK. (It even feels weird stating my country knowing the fact this has affected people globally!). The last part of unlocking for 21st June that stated 'no legal restrictions on social contact'. It struck me as such madness that we have been living in a world where it has actually been illegal to simply socialise with other human beings!!
What are your weirdest food combinations? Do you love dipping your Macdonalds fries into one of their chocolate milkshakes? Can’t get enough of cheese on apple pie? Have you had any strange cravings while pregnant such as the apparently common pickles and ice cream? Or do you long to eat ice cream drizzled with olive oil? Well, today, I decided to try out a different kind of weird food combo that’s been knocking around for about a year or so. Probably longer! As ever, it’s old news by now but, hey, I take a while to process things. And, as life would have it, I’ve not ‘got round’ to trying it until now. The idea of combining glazed doughnuts with fried chicken as a burger. I wouldn’t say it’s the weirdest I’ve ever heard of as it has that pretty tried and tested sweet and savoury combo. But I guess it was unheard of before someone came up with it sometime last year. KFC were doing it in selected areas in America for example around September last year.
It’s that time of year again! Ihanna’s annual Spring swap! This year marks the 10th anniversary, woo hoo! If you’re not familiar with it, the idea is to make and send 10 diy art postcards. And you’ll get 10 back. This is my 5th year of signing up and I love it! I was a bit sceptical this year what with the fact there is a global pandemic currently devastating the nation. I have a 6 year old and have been somewhat struggling with home schooling. Not to mention going a little mad as a highly sensitive person and not having much quiet time to recharge. So I was a bit worried whether I’d still manage it. But in the end, I couldn’t resist! It’s important now more than ever for me to be getting that creative time and what better excuse than doing the swap! Pandemic or not, I love the fact it forces me to make time to get creative. Having a deadline and knowing people are relying on me to receive a postcard helps keep me accountable. Granted, the postcards have been sent out the latest yet! I’m usually late in sending but this year I think is a record! Well, you know what they say, better late than never right?!
With the recent BBC Two reality show/documentary ‘Who are you calling fat?’ still looming fresh in my mind, being a ‘woman of size’, I have a lot to say about the issues and debates raised in this programme.
The format follows a reality show where nine people living with obesity are placed together to live in a house. All with differing views, it makes great viewing and sparks the debate off nicely.
The two main camps were the body positivity crowd on one side and those on the other who believe in the medical implications and risks of staying obese.
Here in my latest blog I'm going to review an online personal shopper service from Lookiero. At the end, I'll reveal my special discount code for you to receive 10% off your first experience with them.
I can’t actually remember where I first came across it. As with all things internet and social media these days, everything seems to blur into one! We’re bombarded with ads left right and centre. On occasion, I get the odd meaningful one that is relevant. Lookiero was one of these rare finds and I do remember being rather intrigued by this new service.
The process starts by you filling out a multiple choice survey detailing your style preferences, what type of work you do and how much emphasis you want on work or leisure. It was quite in depth with questions on how you like the fit of things to what areas of your body do you want to focus on. There was also a section where you could leave notes about any other relevant information that wasn’t in the multiple choice. For example, as well as maintaining my blog and handmade shop, I work as a nursery practitioner. So my work clothes need to be smart but practical for running around with the little ones. I also wanted to state about my love of colour and print as I wanted to be wowed with the things that bring me the most joy! Below is a prime example of the sort of things you can expect to find in my wardrobe! Pretty floral prints, smart cardigans, flattering skirts, colourful tights (Snag tights are the best!) and comfy Converse.
In my last two blog posts I’ve been touching on my mental health and how it's reached a peak. How, my whole identity was being called into question whilst trying to get an official mental health diagnosis. I wanted to write a proper blog post about it and tell you my thoughts about finding your identity. What does it mean to be you? Do we really need to define ourselves in order to live? Do we need labels or are they useful? I will attempt to answer these through my own experience.
I had a bit of a crisis in my mental health. It’s such a long story but I suffered PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) from May 2016 after a traumatic start to life with our now 5 year old. I was put on anti depressants, Sertraline, because I went to the doctors feeling suicidal. Read more about that here. They helped for a while whilst I was in recovery. I had a year off work to get better. But in the last 6 months I felt the anti-depressants were making me worse.
It’s felt like an age since I last blogged but actually it’s been more like 6 weeks. That isn’t major in the grand scheme of things. And I really need to cut myself some slack lately as my ill mental health reached a complete peak! It’s better now and I intend to write a few blogs about it. But basically, the short of it was, I had a bit of a crisis in my identity while the psychiatrists were trying to sort my medication. Somewhere along the line I’d started hiding behind my bipolar disorder. Needing the label to define myself.
The last few months has been pretty horrendous, I’ve been hurt and caused hurt with a close friend. I’ve cried buckets, and been triggered all over the place. I’ve been challenged and faced some hard truths. The negative swirling thoughts just got too much. Thankfully I’m on new medication now that seems to be helping. It’ll still take a while to adjust but feeling like I can finally cope with life is a wonderful thing! So I’m taking advantage of feeling better and here we are!
Now, onto the tutorial! Mother’s Day is only next week here in the UK! Sunday 31st March. I thought I’d do a quick DIY tutorial for this cut out hearts/window hearts card.
I'm no stranger to a creative community or two. If you've read any of my previous blogs, I've met some lovely, like minded people in the form of fellow colour lovers from In Colourful Company. And, how can we forget, my first foray into the creative bloggers world, Blogtacular. There is a third creative community that has been in my life since the middle of last year. Around August 2018, I became a paid member of the Indie Rollercoaster, Make it Happen group. There are no words to say how much of a positive impact this little group has had on me and my business. I just cannot express the love and gratitude I have for my involvement in all these communities. They hold such a special place in my heart.
I've been battling with my mental health again lately, which is a whole other blog post right there! I'm currently seeing psychiatrists to try to get a proper diagnosis but as you may've guessed, the NHS is rubbish for mental health. So it's a very slow process and in the meantime, I have to just roll with it! So most of January I was on a downer and am still struggling to get motivated. It was pretty apt to be going for a business networking event on Monday 21st January, apparently billed as the saddest day of the year, 'blue Monday'. It was just the thing I needed to kick start me into 2019!
The event was held at Dreamland Margate, in the ballroom. I didn't actually take any pics of the building as I was too nervous to just get there and get settled! However, as soon as I stepped off the train and saw the sea, I immediately felt at home! Living in Southend-on-Sea, my very own seaside town, it was just really comforting to be by the sea! As much as I love my creative communities and always have so much fun, it doesn't mean my anxiety levels are low. Far from it. I stress about what to wear, always overthinking about stuff such as being colourful and 'on brand' but still wanting to feel comfy and wear practical/weather appropriate clothing! And the fact of wanting to look my 'best self' as the youngsters say, because I know I will be photographed! If the meet up is in London, which, mostly, they are, as it's the closest, most central town for meet ups for me, then I'm usually on extra alert on what to wear. The reason being is that I see London as the trendy capital and so I worry even more about what people might think of me and wanting to fit in with this trendy persona I seem to build up in my head. It's so stupid and I hate caring what people think, but, hey, I'm only human I guess.
I'm Julia, Just Creative Julia, jolly pleased to meet you!
Welcome to my creative lifestyle blog, established 2014. My creative journey in discovering my authentic self as a neurodivergent woman.
Embracing the Neuro Spicy! Here you will find many different topics centring around creativity, deep thoughts, mental health, food and more.