Well would you believe it, it’s Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK and the sun is shining! I’m looking for positivity this weekend after a tough week for our country. I’ll be spending time with friends, having a date night with G who has been away this week for work, and of course working on some new goodies for the shop!
This weekend I’m also having a sale in my Etsy shop yay! Just use the code MAYBANKHOL for 15% off everything. A great time to stock up on cards and gifts or maybe even a treat for yourself.ALSO I HAVE NEWS OF A GIVEAWAY! I have teamed up with the lovely folks at Sew Magazine for a big giveaway and I’m thrilled about it. There are 10 of the SEW necklaces up for grabs in their competition. All you have to do is complete this form to be in with a chance of winning one. What are you planning to do this weekend to stay positive? I better run, I’ve got to get to the post office and send out your lovely orders and of course grab a coffee to start my day. Happy weekend!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Thinking about the business and what direction I want to take it in. Thinking about what I value in life and who I want around me. Thinking about all the drama that has been surrounding blogging and social media. I thought I’d share what has been happening around here because I’ve come to some conclusions and it’s always helpful for me to write them here on the blog – my online journal if you like.
I want to do less to get more
I have decided to refocus Claireabellemakes to bring it back to what it originally was in 2012! Rather than doing all.the.things, I’m going to focus on products and the blog. That’s it. I’ve ended freelance contracts and finally made the decision to retire Cambridge Craft Parties. I did feel sad at first (because how much fun were they and who doesn’t love buying party supplies and creating with others?!), but I know it’s the right thing to do. They needed a lot of work to make them more profitable and in my heart I was more drawn towards designing products. That’s not to say I wont run workshops in the future, but it was time to say goodbye to the parties.
I’m not giving up freelance work all together, I’m just being way more selective and only working on things I really believe in and enjoy. I’m not going to lie, this part has been scary. Especially as it has meant letting go of income when the landlord just increased our rent!
I don’t want to stress about social media
There has been a lot of drama about social media lately (Instagram bots, algorithms, etc) and I kind of don’t care about it. I did join an Instagram pod because I was curious to see what would happen (I like experimenting), but actually I now use it to keep connected with my favourite creatives and I really don’t care about numbers or engagement anymore. I care that people enjoy my posts online and that maybe they will like my designs enough to purchase something. I care that I am part of a community that supports one another – I certainly don’t care about getting on the Explore page of Instagram or getting a ‘blue tick’ to become verified. After all – what does that really mean? My main goal is to enjoy social media without analysing. It’s always been fun for me and I want to keep it that way.
I know why I am doing this and what I am now
Being reflective these last few months has reaffirmed why I want to have a creative job like this. Ultimately it’s to live a happy life and to make money. That’s it. I’m not looking for validation or for anything else – I just want to be creative and live a nice life. Pretty simple really.
I now feel like a designer maker. For years I didn’t want to use the term for myself and that’s OK. The imposter syndrome has left the building and I finally feel confident to tell people “I run my own business designing products and writing a creative blog”. Self doubt still happens every now and again, but it’s way less often now.
So what’s next?
I’m working on new designs. I’m streamlining the business as well as my physical ‘stuff’ in the studio. Doing fewer things means I can do them really really well. I’m working on wholesale plans. I’m working on a new website design with a shop. I’m meeting creative friends regularly. I’m creating community and attending face-to-face meet ups where I can.
In a physical sense, I’ve probably got less to show for my business since I quit my full-time job last Autumn. However, in an emotional sense, there is more clarity than ever. I just needed the head space and time to figure it all out.
I’m grateful I have had the chance to try so many things. It has helped me determine what I want my brand to be and I’ve learnt a lot. Letting the business evolve from nothing has been so valuable and I’m ready for the next steps now!
Wish me luck…..and thanks for reading my brain dump today 😉 What’s new with you?
Following on from the Edinbugh from Up High walking post on Wednesday, I’m sharing some more places to visit in Edinburgh. We spent 4 days in the city and were incredibly lucky with the weather. It was so Spring like I got freckles! Here are a few things we got up to including some recommendations for the tastiest places to eat in Edinburgh.
Of course we did some really touristy things like visiting Edinburgh Castle. The views are great if you have a clear day and you can watch the 1pm canon being fired over the city rooftops each day except Sundays. Top tip – visit the whisky gift shop to find the Ludicrously Good Fudge. Totally amazing and worth breaking the diet for.
One day we took a walk to Dean Village (needed to burn off the fudge) and wandered along the Water of Leith Walkway. On a sunny day this is so beautiful and I can imagine when the trees are leafy green it is even more picturesque. We walked home via Stockbridge to find a local food market and lots of places to eat and drink.
Beyond Dean Village, we also found the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art which had a lovely little cafe serving lovely BIG slices of cake. We didn’t stop here for long but I hope we can visit again.
We basically ate our way around the city enjoying haggis and even a deep fried mars bar for a novelty late night snack. Our friend took us to Urban Angel for one of the best brunches I have ever had. It gets pretty busy so we had to wait a while for a table but it was VERY good. They serve plenty of juices, fresh salads and cake too.
Other notable places to eat and drink were the hipster coffee shop Artisan Roast on Broughton Street, Civerinos Italian Street Food (never seen pizza like it) and El Cartel for the best tacos and enchilladas I’ve ever had.
Bars were a pretty cool affair in Edinburgh. The first was Panda and Sons which looks like an old school barbers shop from the outside. Head down a staircase and open a bookcase to find an underground bar. We also sampled some delicious cocktails at the Lucky Liquor Co which were topped with marshmallows and served alongside an Elton John album or two.
One last highlight was the Coco Chocolatiers shop which sells delicious handmade chocolate wrapped in the most beautiful paper packaging. We may have gone back for a second trip as it was that good and being a stationery geek I was really drawn in by the patterned papers. Totally going to be shopping via their online shop at Christmas time as I think their bars will make great gifts.
We had a fantastic time in the city and found the locals to be so friendly and helpful. This time I missed the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, but I think it might be worth a trip back up to Scotland to stock up on wool and maybe take a highlands road trip one day!
Oh and of course I did some bikespotting in Edinburgh! Not sure I could manage to cycle there with all those hills……