Sunday, 29 September 2013

A Love Letter...

via Pinterest
To you,

I just wanted to write you this letter to let you know that I love you. Not just a little bit either. I find myself smiling when I think of you and without sounding incredibly dramatic, I can't imagine my life without you.

This week, you've taken me to some wonderful places. The Perfect Wedding Awards on Monday were fabulous - much fun with great people and seeing Laura Caudery, Annabel Beeforth, Lucy Ledger, Emma Case, Naomi Neoh among others pick up their well-deserved awards was a real treat. I can't thank you enough.

Over the last few weeks, thanks to you, I've been part of some great projects, taken trips to almost every county in the south of England and have pages full in my diary from here until past Christmas. There's always lots to look forward to with you around - life is never quiet, never dull and certainly never the same.

I'll be honest, sometimes you're tricky to manage. You demand a lot of my time and, when I love you so much, it can be hard to leave you be for a little while. But, as the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder and, after a weekend without you, I'm yearning to get back to you on a Monday morning.

But, all that said, I know I'm so lucky to have you. You allow me to be creative, responsible, decisive and independent. Because of you, I can be myself and I don't have to play games, pretend to agree when I don't or go along with things that just don't make me happy. You allow me time for the school run, you don't care what I wear when I'm sat behind my laptop but you love me to get dressed up and have some fun. With you, I can feel that I'm making a difference, however small, and that my efforts aren't unappreciated. Not many people have one like you. My goodness, you're good to me.

So, I just wanted to tell you that I love you. You're more than a job. You're part of me.

Lots of love,
Me xx

p.s. You might like to see this pic of Laura, Annabel & I at the Perfect Wedding Awards - I hope you love it as much as I do...

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Emily Quinton's Makelight Photography Workshop - Review

So, yesterday saw me up, out and on a train to London bright and early. With cameras in one bag and lots of homemade cake in another, I was off to Emily Quinton's Makelight Photography Workshop.

I was so looking forward to this day (and had been for months since reserving my place months ago!). I, like most of us, have been increasingly snap happy with my camera phone and although I have a pretty nice D-SLR, I have frankly very little idea what all the settings, dials and buttons do. Could Emily explain, assist and cajole me into better photography?

Oh yes, she could. Emily, someone I know of through the wedding world, has a very beautiful Instagram feed with a strong style, a consistent look and all sorts of pretty to swoon over. And, she happily spent the day sharing secrets, tips, information and more that inspired and cleared away the fog that had long settled over my understanding of imagery.

As with most days like this, another highlight was meeting all of the other people on the workshop too and a nicer bunch of women you couldn't hope to meet. All with differing aims, lives, businesses and experiences, we were soon all laughing, sharing, gossiping and just having a great day. You know it's all been worthwhile when you're badgering the workshop leader to plan a follow-up day soon. I admit to waking up this morning, seeing clouds and thinking "oh, what excellent light!" Emily's words have definitely sunk in!

So yesterday was fabulous and my 'proper' camera is now sat next to me on my desk rather than being tucked away. I'm hoping I'll keep experimenting, keep trying new things and I'm going to be far more critical with my images. And, I solemnly promise to no just solely rely on my iPhone, never use flash and plan ahead!

But for me, one of the things I really took from yesterday was the importance of continuing to learn. It's very easy to sit behind your laptop or at your desk, beavering away at everything and keeping your mind closed to the prospect of educating yourself. When you work on your own, it's also really easy to get stuck in one way of thinking, one way of doing things and whilst these things keep on working for you, what are you missing? What else is out there that might just set your world alight? How will you know if you never get out there? Those little ruts that we keep ourselves in can be comforting but when you poke your head over the edge, the view is rather wonderful.

So, thank you Emily, not only for the wisdom, kindness and fun of yesterday but also for encouraging me to keep learning.

Here are a few of the images that I took yesterday - not edited at all, just completely 'as they were'. If anyone has any more recommendations of workshops or similar, I'd love to hear about them.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

You Know What? You've Changed...

This week has been rather revealing.

When I was a teenager, I wasn't the girlie girl. When everyone else was learning how to apply their make-up and paint their nails, I was watching Formula 1 and stomping about in boots and camouflage gear at my local Air Cadet squadron. In my early twenties, I ditched the boots, went to work, dressed up, loved it and found my feminine side (it wasn't a total transformation - the hair was still super short!). I had a few failed and very splodgy attempts at painting my nails which all ended badly, messily and with my nails remaining plain and embarrassingly naked. So, for over a decade (yes, I'm that old), I've limited my varnishing efforts to my toes where any blobs and blemishes aren't so noticeable.

However, over the last few weeks, I've been gazing covetously at a parade of perfectly painted fingernails at meetings and photo-shoots and was inspired to pick up my little pot of 'Double Decker Red' and face down my fingernail nemesis.

And, do you know something? I managed a very acceptable manicure. I got carried away. I bought more colours and am now altering the hue of my fingers every couple of days. I love it - it's some me time, it makes me smile and I'm getting a bit better with every swish of the brush.

Because, I'm not the same person I was in my twenties and earlier. I still love Formula 1 but I can now walk in high heels, be trusted with a set of keys, cook a roast dinner, book my car into a garage and manage hundreds of little things I couldn't back in my youth.

So it's odd that a few of those "I can't do that..." limiting beliefs stick with us and continue to cripple us for a long time past their sell by date. Now, my life wouldn't have stalled seriously if I hasn't managed to coat my nail in a gorgeous coat of 'Coralicious' last night but the thing is, these limiting beliefs aren't often as innocent.

How many of us say to ourselves "I can't do that..." about things relating to our businesses? How many opportunities have we let slip by because we "can't do that"? I bet it's a lot of us.

But, the thing is, we're telling ourselves the wrong thing. Instead of "I can't do that...", we should be saying "I've not been able to do that before". Then we should absolutely get up and give it another try. Don't simply turn things away or shake your head sadly because "you can't do that" without seeing if you can. Try doing the thing you think is beyond you. Give it a go, give it your best shot. But, it's that voice in your head isn't it? The one that shouts so loudly at you not to bother because you've never done this before so surely it's pointless to even try now, right? Right?

Wrong. So wrong, it's almost off the scale of wrongness. Because do you know what? You've changed...

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Papergirls PR Masterclass - I'm Still Buzzing!

Welcome to The Papergirls PR Masterclass!
Just before I went on holiday, my phone rang and the really rather fabulous Abigail Warner was on the line, asking if I'd like to co-host The Papergirls PR Masterclass that was held at Cockpit Arts, London, on Thursday 5th September.

Now, I never need asking twice to try something new, work with great people and get out and about so of course, my answer to Abigail was "oh yes please!"

So, last Thursday found me playing commuter and heading to London in the sunshine for the workshop, clutching goodies, handouts, notes and more. And, it was a brilliant day with Abigail and fellow Papergirl, Lucy Ledger, gathering a great group of women together.

Firstly, Cockpit Arts is a great venue. Just walking to the light, cool room we'd be in for the day, you walk past all these amazing little workshops, full of designers, artists, craftspeople and creative geniuses. Frankly, I could have spent all day peeping through windows and seeing what was going on.

However, let's get down to the business at hand because we covered lots of ground. We talked PR basics, practicalities, ideas, case studies and peppered the conversation with tips, examples and lots of insider information. We discussed strategy, media outlets, hooks, research, social media, business stakeholders, events, new releases, pitches, toolkits, images and One Direction (yes, really!). It was great and, as someone who only got a D in GCSE Art, I was totally inspired (and slightly frustrated at my own inability to even draw a tree) by being around the wonderful designers and creatives that attended the day.

Abigail & Lucy had also invited some brilliant guest speakers for the afternoon session including Charley from London Bride and Helen from Cutture to give their take on business. So much to take in and so much to take away - I'm absolutely in awe of the things people achieve, the risks they take that pay off and the deep love that others have for their businesses. How can you not be fired up after such a great big injection of passion?

And do you know why workshops and sessions like this are, I think, quite essential sometimes? Well, aside from topping you up with ideas, getting you out from your own little business bubble and opening you up to different ideas and possibilities, you should never stop learning. Imagining that you know everything there is to know and you are perfect, infallible and so flipping wonderful that you can't possibly pick up anything new from anyone, is fatal.

But, happily, my Thursday was full of learning and brain-opening revelations and, judging by some of the messages I've received from those who were there since, I think everyone who attended took lots away from this wonderful day...

"Thank you so much for your time, knowledge and kindness. I learned so much!" 
Suzanne from Pretty Wild Design

"Thank you for today Tamryn. You were so inspiring and informative." 
Tamsin from Studio Seed

"Lovely to meet you today. Feeling very inspired... you've galvanised me into action!" 
Jo from Lovehair

Thanks so much to Abigail & Lucy for inviting me to be part of the day. I loved every minute of it. Can't wait to be a Papergirl again xx