Lifestyle

Ignorance vs Prejudice

As a black female who grew up in a majority white town, attended majority white educational institutions, competed in a majority white sport and works in a majority white industry. Dodging peoples ignorance and prejudice based on the colour of my skin has become a way of life.

When I was younger I looked forward to the day when my skin colour would no longer be a barrier. To the day when people would just accept me as a person and descriptions of me would not be prefixed by my skin colour. I would be a person, just like them. Not a black girl or member of a community different to theirs, just me.

Recently however, I have experienced something which completely shattered that ideal. It has made me realise that perhaps, even though we are in the 21st Century, and there is a lot of rhetoric surrounding improved race relations and the perceived successful diversity in the UK, especially in London. There is still a long way to go. Continue reading %s

Something New for 2017

Something New for 2017

Happy New Year.

Welcome back to my blog. I hope you all had an enjoyable break over the festive period.

I was fortunate enough to get quite a lot of time off over the festive period. With thanks to the back to back bank holidays as well as my annual leave days. Sewing took up the majority of my time off. For those who follow me on Instagram and YouTube you will know that I have been doing a blog series with William Gee. Due to different life circumstances that I couldn’t plan for pre-Christmas, I ended up running behind. There was no way I would make up the time, but really wanted to get the outstanding dresses made before the start of the New Year so that I could start with a clean slate. As soon as the final dress was finished I was able to take a few days to reflect on what I had learnt in 2016 and what I want to move forward and achieve in 2017.

Way back in 2016, I was one of those people who were talking big of 2017. “It’s going to be my year”, “I’m going to change my life for the better”, “I’m going to change my mindset and start doing what I really want to do”. It was sooo easy to talk tough when I could put it off to the new year. And now the new year is here I have to put my money where my mouth is. Which, more or less, is what I intend to do.

I have spent the past 2/3 years complaining about a lot of the same things. And even if everyone else isn’t bored of hearing the stories, I am. But more than that I am bored of living the same story. Just going through the motions, always wishing and wanting something better but not being brave enough to bet it all on me. So this year, I am. I’m betting it all on me. I’m going to be that change. I am going to live the hashtag #dreambelieveachieve. I’m going to go after what I really want no matter how much it scares me.

First question. How?

Well, I have a blog (hello). A YouTube Channel. Various forms of social media. But more importantly than all of that I have a voice, I have a story, I have a skill. There are so many great people who have been able to eek out every bit of greatness they have in one area and be the best. Just look at Serena Williams, Oprah Winfery, Victoria Beckham. I might have lost a few of you with the last one, but from a girl who had questionable singing abilities to a world-renowned, and high society approved, fashion designer ain’t half bad.

So, what are you going to do?

Obvious answer. Make and sell clothes. But I have always been adverse to having a single label and the feeling that someone it trying to make me fit in a box. So I won’t put a label on it. I’m just going to be me. To make money I will sew. Whether that be clothes or soft furnishings, it would be silly to not use that skill. But I won’t pigeon hole myself. There are loads of things I want to do. And as Posh Spice has shown all of us, you don’t have to be one thing for the whole of your life. If you grow up and change. Change. But do it gracefully.

I had a tough time trying to consolidate my thoughts on my days off. I know what I want to do, I know where I want to get to by the end of the year. Working out exactly how I would get there was a tougher nut to crack. The how will come down to a lot of trial and error. Towards the end of 2016 I was a frequent and consistent video publisher on “the Youtube” (inside joke). And I saw a significant increase in views and subscribers. So that is an obvious and quick win. Be more consistent. But to be successful, it’s not just about being consistent, it’s about you the person. So then I started thinking about how I can build a structure to follow to increase consistency and show my personality. But I didn’t want them to be vague and none committal activities. I wanted them to be beneficial to me as well as my future business. And I came up with these four points:

      1. Motivation Monday

        For those who don’t know, alongside all of this, I have a full time job. And the more I am pulled into the world of doing things that I really enjoy and are for myself. The connection to my day to day is weakened, and the enjoyment along with it. Making it harder to get motivated and greet Mondays with a smile. So I have decided that every Monday I will post something motivational that I can carry with me throughout the week to help the days pass by a little smoother. This will be anything from a phrase or saying or one liner from a film to a motivational video I watched on YouTube that lifted me up.

      2. #FunFriday

        When I got my first “real job” in fashion, I used to dress up on a Friday. Sometimes I’d be going somewhere after work, but other times it was just because I wanted to. I haven’t done that for ages, so I am bringing it back. I can not take claim for the hashtag as I am sure someone else coined it first, but I will champion it for this year. Because when you look good you feel good, and when you feel good you can concur anything, I will also do an activity after work every Friday. Rather than going straight home to sew. Not that there is anything wrong with that. That is my ideal evening. But it means I’m not out there networking and meeting new people or socialising with my friends. And you know what they say, you’re network is your net-worth. So I’m going to get out there and meet new people, or spend time with those who are already in my life and do something with my Friday evenings.

      3. Self Affirmation Selfies

        Last year I went through a hellish time at work. Proper knocked me for 6, but I got up fighting. I won’t go into it now. Will save it for a later date. Because of what happened and how it happened I started to lose confidence in myself. It’s something I don’t like to admit. Because I am a strong, confident person. However, my experience showed me that I don’t believe it and feel it the same way I feel and believe other things. So to help me tackle this and get that self-belief back up to 100%, and keep it there, I am going to post self affirmation selfies. And encourage others to do the same. Because together we are stronger.

      4. Sunday Sewing Sessions

        Fourth and final point is to dedicate Sundays to sewing. That’s everything about sewing. Posting pictures of a work in progress. Uploading videos to YouTube. Shopping for fabrics, patterns, trims etc. Looking for inspiration, sketching new designs. Making something new to sell on my Etsy store. Whatever it might be that is what Sunday’s will be about.

With this structure I will be able to be more consistent. And I have already seen the rewards of consistency with the videos I posted on YouTube last year. And it gives me an opportunity to showcase my talent (sewing) and personality so that people can buy into me and my Brand. Which will hopefully turn them into customers as well as fans. Or it could lead to collaborations with other like-mined people or job opportunities and commissions. All of which will help me get from 200 Instagram followers and 180 YouTube subscribers to 100,000 Instagram followers and 250,000 YouTube subscribers.

I am full accepting of the possibility that I may need to tweak these four points as the year goes on. And maybe reduce it down. But to start off with this is my structure. And if I can get my head in the game, be consistent, reflect my personality, feel good and be positive. Good things will come my way, because you attract whatever you put out into the world. I want the world to see me as a motivated, fun, ambitious, self-believing, professional seamstress so I can attract the things that come with it. Good or bad. As long as I am doing what I love and being able to be my true self. I will be happy and I will be successful.

I hope you will stick around and join me on my journey as I move ever close to my goal of becoming self-employed.

What are your goals for 2017? I would love to hear them and find out how you plan on achieving them.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my first blog post of 2017. Speak to you all really soon.

Ax

 

Low mood; stress and anxiety

Did you know that Low Mood and Depression are on a spectrum?

Mental health is a topic that is high on the agenda within today’s society; but there are still many grey areas.
I don’t think I would be miss quoting too many people if I was to say that the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of common mental health issues is depression.

Until recently I was of the understanding that depression existed on it’s own. Something would happen to make someone depressed, a sad thing, bad thing, stressful thing and the outcome would be depression. In the same way that if you cut yourself and you bleed. But this is not the case. Stress, anxiety, low mood and worry are all common mental health issues that 1 in 4 adults experience daily. And if untreated these issues could develop into depression and/or other severe mental health issues.

I have recently found myself in a situation that has subsequently lead me investigating the effects and symptoms of stress and anxiety. Low mood is one of those; in many cases can be the starting point for depression.

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YouTube Welcome Video

My YouTube Channel was in need of an introduction/welcome video.

I conducted an unofficial, official survey of people’s impressions of my videos, what they liked/didn’t like and what they felt was missing. The feedback was really helpful. One thing that stuck was that it was not clear from my videos that I had made the cloths. Although I had written this in the descriptions, there was nothing that showed this in the videos. So, to get this message across to viewers as clearly and efficiently as possible, I decided to make a welcome video.

I knew the video had to be short and give a clear message. To get inspiration I watched a bunch of other YouTube welcome videos. And while looking for inspiration, I remembered one of my favourite scenes from the film Love Actually. The one when the best man from the wedding declares his love for Keira Knightley using flash cards in the rain. And decided to use that as my base to build on for my welcome video.

I think the video worked out well. But don’t just take my word for it, check it for yourself and let me know your thoughts.

Until next time,

Ax