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.
This Autumn recipe is long overdue. Ever the last minute queen, here I am trying to catch up on this before Christmas madness descends on us in the next few days. This recipe uses pumpkin but as Halloween is a distant memory, it can easily be substituted for any other vegetable in the squash family. Such as butternut squash or even sweet potato.
As you may have read from my recent Halloween posts on pumpkin decorating and a faith debate, I really got stuck in with it this year! My 4 year old was really excited to give out all the sweets to the children knocking on our doors. We even dressed up! He had a knight outfit and I wore a purple satin effect eagle cape! It was fun but it did get a bit much to keep getting up to answer the door. I think maybe we may go out for it next year and I could perhaps incorporate a prayer walk as we go between houses. Anyhoo, onto the recipe!
A good few weeks ago I went on my second colourful photo walk in London with the wonderful ‘In Colourful Company’. This time we hunted out colour in Camden. This creative community of colour lovers was started by Toni Bee and is now 2 years old! Toni’s inspiration behind it was simply to meet other fellow creatives and colour lovers.
Previously, these walks have been organised for free with members of the community donating their handmade wares for goody bags. This one was the first ticketed event at £25 and it was so worth the money! Instead of a goody bag we each received a mini zine and an illustrated map of our route for the day. The zine included lots of discount codes to members’ creative biz shops. A great way to share the love in a mutual fashion!
Halloween is here! Ever the last minute queen, I thought I'd do a post on decorating your pumpkins. As mentioned in my previous post, 'should Christians celebrate Halloween?', I've been really getting into it this year. This past weekend was a flurry of pumpkin carving then making some yummy pumpkin recipes with the flesh. I have a pumpkin puree creamy pasta recipe coming up so watch this space! I also found the best doughnut recipe! OMG it was to die for! Pumpkin spice doughnuts with a maple glaze. My overeating struggles were not helped by these and I pretty much devoured them within two days (cue the face palm emoji!). But boy did I enjoy them. Found them on the Olive magazine food website after googling pumpkin recipes. It was within a bigger article containing savoury dishes, desserts and also pumpkin seed recipes such as granola. Check it out here.
In this tutorial I will cover the steps to prepare your pumpkin for carving and best practice for carving your designs. I will also go through an easier diy for painting and then using stickers for some added fun! First up, the carving!
I have always hated Halloween. My faith in God aside, I just don't get why evil should be celebrated. When my Bible teaches me to think on whatever is lovely, pure, noble, right and true so that the peace of God will be with me (Philippians 4:8-9), I just can't see why anyone would want to focus on the opposite! When there is a general consensus that Halloween is 'just a bit of fun', I tend to disagree. As a Christian, I don't think this particular holiday should be taken lightly.
It has always been a bone of contention for me. Living at home at my parents and when I moved out in 2010, we would pretty much just turn all the lights off, lock the doors, and not open the door for anyone! Just hide away wishing it all to be over! But in the last couple of years, I've found my opinion changing. In my walk with God, I am called to shine my light, Matthew 5:15 states that people do not light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand and it gives light to everyone in the house.
By turning off all the lights, locking down the house and not opening the door to anyone, am I not letting Satan have his way on this already dark night? The meaning behind that scripture is about not keeping the gift of God to myself. To let it shine for others and illuminate His love to all.
I'm Julia, Just Creative Julia, jolly pleased to meet you!
Welcome to my creative lifestyle blog, established 2014. My main sections are: creativity including crafting, poetry and interior design; well being including mental health, recipes and my faith in God; personal including parenting and my general introvert deep thoughts. You can also have a browse in my shop and Etsy shop.