In my youth, I was often the subject of whispers and giggling. In one memorable-for-all-the-wrong-reasons occasion when I was fourteen, I was also the subject of a secret bet – how long would the boy I was dating put up with me before he dumped me? (Answer, delightfully, seven years – take that, haters – and it was a heartbreaking but also fairly amicable split).
If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of people laughing as you walk past, speculating on your dateability or worth based on your looks, making comments about the way you look as though your body is public property, it leaves an intangible, but indelible mark on you.
I still look up nervously when I hear a group of people burst into laughter – there’s a tiny part of me that still believes they’re laughing at, or about me.
Though this reaction drives me up the wall, I have also developed a really good way of dealing with it. I once described myself as the person people invite to a party so that they have an anecdote to tell afterwards.
I have, over the past few years, become the girl that people talk about.
They talk about the things I do, the wild and intense yet passing passions I have for an infinite variety of things, the pace of my life and the sheer number of delightful things I fit into it.
They talk about my persistence, my determination, my absolute focus on the things that matter to me, and my ability to ignore or deprioritise what I don’t consider to be important.
They talk about my fire, my zing, my unstoppable energy and my infectious enthusiasm.
They talk about the way I’m truly at home in my body and myself and my skin, and I love it for, not in spite of, all its supposed flaws I’m told I should hate and change. About the way I wear whatever the hell I want, regardless of fashion or body type or guidelines. Just what makes me feel good wearing it.
It’s always a weird mix of lovely and scary to meet people you admire. To unexpectedly have the chance to meet, talk to, learn from and shoot with one of the photographers whose work you most admire is a bit overwhelming… but in a good way!
Fine art photographer & artist Brooke Shaden comes over to the UK and does a meetup in London once a year. I’d never been before, but spotted this one just a few weeks before it happened, so signed up on the spot. I arranged to meet Louise there, took half a day off work, and made my merry way into London on the 2nd of September.
As soon as I got there my fear disappeared, because it was obvious that we were surrounded by likeminded creative types. Brooke’s talk centered on fairytales and living boldly, creating your own fairytale – and if you’ve been reading this blog for even a short time you’ll see how much that chimes with my own take on life.
To add delight to the evening, the lovely Virginia (who I’ve known online for a long time, but who I’d never met) came and said hello – she’d recognised me from across the room which was a wonderful surprise!
We all swapped fears, and the ones I received were surprisingly similar to my own… fear of not being good enough, fear of never making self employment work. It’s unbelievably comforting to know that other people (whose work I admire) suffer the same fears and worries and doubts that I do.
Brooke set up some shots for us to see how she works, explaining her thought processes as she went.
And then we were free to wander, roam, and play!
Here are my raw shots….
One quick edit…
and countless others lurking, waiting for me to turn them into the art that was in my head when I pressed the shutter….
I’m definitely having a photography moment in the second half of this year and it’s making me ridiculously happy returning to my first love! And it was a massive confidence boost to have models and costumes to play with, without the pressure of creating anything specific.
It’s been an utterly frenetic couple of weeks, and this happened…
Just like magic! It’s endeared me to about five of my new-not-new neighbours, all of whom were finding the trees at least as oppressive as I was, and who can now actually sit out in their garden and enjoy the sun.
So of course it has poured with rain ever since…!
I’ve also seen inside my garage for the first time (it wasn’t part of the let)…
Somewhere for me to indulge my petrolheadedness… squee!
Also got measured for my bridesmaid’s dress and had a lovely weekend away in Brighton for Louise’s hen party – with some incredible rockabilly hair later in the evening, lots of yummy food, and a very vintage theme from the lindy hop class to the 30s bar in the evening. Was also surprisingly lovely to catch up with old school friends who I mostly haven’t seen in years – some bonds don’t ever break, just stretch – just like magic!
I’ve decided hen parties are actually a nice way to get to know people before the wedding – though I proved again that I am a super-lightweight when it comes to drinking. And now it’s the countdown to the wedding… squeak!
Over the weekend, kitties dealt incredibly well with the stress of the tree removal… after one morning spent quivering under the bed (Clover) and watching impatiently from the window closest to the machinery (Luna), the following day I left them with lots of cuddles, yummy food and treats, under Mum & Dad’s supervision, and got this by text about mid-morning:
Furry con artists. (Love them really!) As I type this Luna is happily shredding the paper I bought to wrap breakables in, and shouting for me to wave her favourite toy (a paperclip on a string – no, really) around for her to chase.
I’m still in the middle of the Great Declutter, and am getting rid of an insane amount of stuff, though I still appear to have an insane amount left. But that’s ok.
I have packed up a whole box of blank notebooks so will be looking for some kind of notebook based projects when the building works are over. Ideas on a postcard welcome!
If you’re interested in watching the story of the house unfold, there’s an album over on Flickr, and I’ll probably be Instagramming some of it on @duckingfabulous as well as blogging updates (though it seems that just getting it done takes all my time & energy – I am perpetually surprised by it being bedtime each evening at the moment!)
And nudged by Mimi, I’ve updated my Daydreams to Do list, and will probably be adding to it over the next few weeks and months, as I keep finding lists I’ve made in previous years, which are spooky for their accuracy about my life now. More on that in a separate post, I think!
Finally and easily on a par with the house for excitingness, I am approaching the halfway mark in the first, beta test of the Unfurling Your Wings course. Accompanied by twenty fabulous ladies, we’re in a whirlwind adventure of finding who we really are and how we want to show up in the world. Terrifying as it’s a very personal project, but also glorious. (and probably terribly timed, given the house, but it is making me do everything on schedule, which is brilliant). It’s wonderful watching the magic unfold.
That’s probably enough for one evening – back to a proper blogging schedule soon, I hope!
Excitingly and a little unexpectedly, I think it’s now safe to announce I’m nearing the end of the process of buying my house! SQUEEEEE! I’m delighted not to be moving, and I love this house and the life I’ve built around it, so I’m very happy to be staying.
More on what promises to be the biggest and best creative project of my life so far when all the legalities are completed and it’s actually mine 🙂
However, this decision indirectly ended up leading to one of the best holidays I’ve had in ages – my staycation! A word introduced to me by an American friend of mine, it describes the time-off-work-but-not-going-away type of holiday rather nicely, I think.
I’d booked the week off thinking I’d head up to the Lake District for a photography holiday, or possibly across to France for a jewellery making holiday (both high on my wishlist at the moment!). But with the hottest week of the year predicted and house completion looming, instead I stayed at home, saw friends, pottered in my garden and started packing boxes up ready for renovating the downstairs part of the house – and I had a wonderful time!
As any of you who have emailed me recently will know, I’ve barely been near my computer all week – and oh, how wonderful that’s been.
Spending time in my business – making the flurry of custom bracelet orders, packing delights from the shop up for people all over the world, reviewing the first draft of Unfurling Your Wings ready for the beta round in August.
Spending time on my business – sorting out my filofax, arranging a day to go through my accounts with my VA, rejigging my plans and goals and directions, and brainstorming new things with wonderful likeminded solopreneurs. And trying and failing (again) to implement an editorial calendar. I really do prefer writing and posting when the mood takes me 🙂
Spending time in my life (which I am trying to do far more often) – having breakfast in the garden (and eating cake for breakfast), drinking Prosecco in a secret garden in London, a burlesque workshop and a festival, playing with costumes, reading three books in a day before I consent to getting out of bed, cups of tea and putting the world to rights with my Gran… all of the things I love but so rarely seem to have time for in my life lately.
And spending time on my life – reviewing my dreams, directions, goals, and working out how best to move in those directions. Writing, photographing, musing and walking. Playing with my Wild Unknown deck, musing over the meanings of the cards I’ve drawn. And, because I’m the list queen, making checklists so I actually do the things that are important to me each day, week and month.
The biggest and most concrete realisation of this pottering, journalling, meditating and generally giving myself room to breathe has been that I want to keep this day job as part of my portfolio for much longer than I had initially planned. Yes, I was surprised too.
The grand plan was to do two years and then shift gracefully into working for myself full time.
And then I adopted my beloved kittens, bought a house and maybe most significantly, made real friends through work. And now I find I’m reluctant to leave the place where I see those people each day, where the work is varied and interesting and I have lots of autonomy and flexibility, while still being able to switch off when I leave the office.
Though I still hate the concept of the 9-5 and the insistence of organisations that employees be in a specific place at specific times, rather than assigning work and letting us get on with it whenever and wherever is best for us, I think I’d be very sad to leave this particular day job (or at least, the people in it) behind just yet.
Longer term I definitely still want total control over where and when I work – yet I’m reluctant to plan more specifically than a general direction to move in, because who knows where I will be and what I’ll be doing in a year’s time, never mind in five or ten years?!
So the biggest result of my staycation (brain-cation?!) is that now my short and mid-term plans involve growing my businesses in a slightly different way, so they’re entirely flexible, and then when I reach the point where it’s financially possible, I can shift the balance.
Part time instead of full time at the day job, and at least half of my time spent on my own ventures and projects. I can see the balance I want very clearly…
Likeminded people, and a beautiful campus, and a flexible but challenging job. Structure, and an office to go into when I need or want to, and watercooler moments with lovely colleagues.
And plenty of time for new projects and classes, for making and experimenting and reading and learning new skills. For spending with my friends and family. For entertaining in the house and garden of my dreams, and for relaxing there in my own personal sanctuary. For movement to be built into my life and for stillness and quiet to be as present as noise and being busy.
Not at all what I expected or planned when I quit London for a portfolio career – but intriguingly, it feels exactly right for where I am and what I want right now.
I have a photoshoot with the lovely Grace tomorrow afternoon.
We booked it months ago, which means the date has snuck up on me, and while I’m very excited, I’m also incredibly disorganised. This week I have been frantically making these beauties:
while simultaneously freaking out about how little preparation I’ve actually managed to do.
Discovering at ten to five on Wednesday that a) a key part of one of my costumes was locked in my parents’ garage, b) the location I had scouted would be overrun with students investigating their futures at university (how inconsiderate, lol!), and c) I hadn’t actually got round to ordering two other key costume components yet, I haven’t been the most serene in the run up to the shoot.
Fortunately Grace has found us a new location, the internet is magical and I have both costume pieces in my hands, and I did a detour on the way to see my accountant last night and got the other one from the garage. Phew. Now all that’s left is dyeing my hair, deciding on make up and actually getting there in one piece tomorrow…
Worst case scenario, I guess we’ll fly…
I have been scouring the internet and my Craftsy classes for posing ideas and practice, because despite all my dance history and being a photographer, generally when you stick a lens in my face I get the giggles, and not in a delicate and attractive way, usually in an all out snorting, crying-with-laughter-while-rolling-on-the-floor kind of a way. Which is going to be difficult in a corset.
Fortunately the two main looks we’ll be shooting are my two newest alter egos – Nell, real name Petronella Blythe Merriman, who’s a steampunk gypsy with a story all her own, and an as-yet-unnamed woodland fairy with rainbow wings and western boots. (I love how this alter ego work feeds off who you actually are.)
So though I’m excited-nervous to be the other side of the camera, I’m looking forward to drawing out more of Nell’s character, and perhaps finding out my fairy’s name and personality.
Well, ten and a half currently… but on November 6, this year, I will have been officially blogging for 11 years.
How the hell did that happen?!
Here’s my first ever blog entry, on my first ever blog, which I found by accident this afternoon. It’s… very pink. It’s also cringeworthy to read and contains way too many personal details about me and others for a public space, hence the blurring.
My 18 year old self was rather fond of text speak (though I’m cutting her some slack as it was, after all, 2004) and appears to have considered a blog a sort of mass email system (like an early form of Mailchimp, I suppose).
The “previous posts” on the right hand side has three more posts from the same day. Obviously addicted from the start. I’ll be honest, I’m glad it’s now been offline for some time (!) The about page is linked to my current Blogger account for comments, hence the up to date photo. I wish they kept old ones!
But as I’ve been referring to myself as “blogging for nearly a decade” for some time, it’s rather nice to have stumbled across solid proof of my first foray into writing online (and only because I was trying to work out how to change the “Carla at Ducking Fabulous” which crops up whenever I post a comment on a Blogger blog.)
At a time when all sorts of things are changing and when I’m feeling a bit at odds with myself about my direction and my progress on certain businesses and projects, it’s amazing to see, in black pink and white, exactly how far I’ve come since I started. Some of you will be reading this on my website, but for reference and anyone on Feedly, Bloglovin or any other platform, here’s a screenshot of my current front page (all my own self-taught work, including the graphics except for the doodled magic wand):
To give some context to my ancientness in blogging terms, Technorati has published a State of the Blogosphere report every year since 2004. In October 2004 they were tracking around 4 million blogs, 40-odd percent of which hadn’t had a post in three months. There were 4.6 posts per second, or 16,000 per hour. That’s roughly 384,000 posts a day.
I’m currently working through Cerries Mooney’s amazing Calibration Kit and Aligned series, and in the process have been facing my own biggest business demons – comparisonitis and self doubt.
Stumbling across this proof of my status as blogging pioneer/dinosaur (as we’ve seen, eleven years is a ridiculously long time in the world of technology and the internet) has given me a new wealth of confidence in myself.
In my ability to learn code, CSS and a new platform (I switched to self hosted WordPress in 2008); my persistence; my natural abilities (this is probably the only thing I’ve done consistently for more than a decade, other than basics like eat, sleep and brush my teeth); and the incredible improvement in my clarity, direction and the look of my online homes.
It gives me a boost against my tendency, especially after a couple of glasses of wine, to freak out about entrepreneurs who have been going longer than me and are correspondingly more well known or successful. It addresses the fact that anyone who was writing a blog that could be understood by someone over the age of 20 had a far better chance of succeeding than I did back then. It reminded me that I’m a competent self taught photographer, blogger and website maker (among other things) – which is no small achievement.
It also opened my eyes to the fact that though now I can’t imagine being without my businesses, at the time I simply wanted to record my life – and all of that is ok.
Something seemingly small and simple has helped me to rewrite my personal history more truthfully – and stop beating myself up for not having been in business since about 2006, like so many of the mentors I follow. And now I have an official blog birthday to celebrate!
I wonder if I knew, writing that first post which “felt strange”… that all this time later I’d still be doing it…?
Here’s a TED talk I’ve been waiting for since forever. Emilie Wapnick, founder of Puttylike and fellow scanner/Renaissance soul/polymath/multipotentialite, shares her thoughts on how we’re all wired differently.
If you’ve ever felt adrift, confused or lost because you can’t pick just one thing to specialise in and do for the rest of your life – watch this.
Through my various ventures and the community of solopreneurs who keep me sane, I’ve learned some intriguing truths about starting up. Whatever stage of business you’re at, whether it’s thinking and daydreaming, early stages or you’ve been going for years, I hope they help.
It’s allowed to be fun
I have been musing recently on how un-fun (is that even a word? It should be if it isn’t) lots of business courses and seminars are. The ones I’ve been to in the past have been helpful on the one hand, but I can also imagine them being offputting. With pages and pages of business plans, finance information, insurance and scare stories about what happens if you get your tax return wrong, it’s enough to make you want to run away and hide (and that’s before I mention the EU VAT fiasco…!)
But if you don’t love what you’re doing, and if you don’t allow yourself to have fun and enjoy your business (and build in ways to do this from the start), you will find yourself with a cage you’ve built yourself, which is far harder to escape than the 9-5 you so joyfully quit months or years ago.
(This photo is from an actual shoot we did for a Louise Rose Couture collection.)
You’re allowed to change what you do
But do make sure you check in with yourself as to why you’re changing. If you genuinely don’t like what you’re doing, or you know you work best in cycles of things, then go ahead and change it up – as long as you communicate it clearly to your customers and clients, no one important to your biz will bat an eyelid.
You have my full permission to ignore any naysayers who predict doom and gloom. We’re small and nimble, we can change with the times – and we can change on our own whims, too. Some of my most successful solopreneur colleagues have been through several editions of their businesses before they found the one(s) that work best and light them up.
There will be days when you wonder why the hell you started this
Yes, even for that thing you LOVE to do, and do in your spare time, and you would totally do even if no one ever paid you for it. Even when you are earning decent money from your biz (and definitely when you’re not yet earning decent money from your biz), and even when you have All Of The Flexibility because you finally left your day job… you will still have days when you wonder what on earth you’re doing and why in the name of all that’s cat shaped on the internet you ever thought it was a good idea to work for yourself.
It’s normal, it will ambush you when you least expect it, it will go on happening for your entire life as a solopreneur. But it will also pass, and you will emerge the other side. I promise. Find yourself a likeminded and sympathetic buddy you can call when you’re considering jacking it all in.
Day jobs are cool, too
Do not ever let anyone shame you about working a day job. It could be a delightful part of your portfolio, or it could be something you do simply for the money. Whichever way round, having a part or full time job for someone else in no way makes you less – you are still self employed, you are still creative, you are still amazing and you are still changing the world in your own way.
My day job meetings often look like this. It’s a world away from the London corporate cage!
I can tell you from experience that you can’t create from a place of desperation, and if you have quit your steady income too early, you’re highly unlikely to be creating your best work while you worry about where your next rent payment or grocery shop is coming from.
For those who have jumped and the net hasn’t appeared – you can go back! Two of my friends have recently gone back to full and part time day jobs, which, because of their self employment adventures and passion projects, are more aligned with their strengths and what lights them up than you’d believe.
Lots of us flit in and out of jobs as money requires – this is ok. Do what you have to to enable you to do your best work.
Which leads me on to…
It will take more time than you expect or plan for
A bit like any kind of building or home improvement work, no matter how clear your vision (and let’s face it, they all cloud over at times), and whatever your level of social media proficiency, building a network and community around your business, who will turn into your loyal customers and raving fans, takes time. More time than you expect.
But when they come, they are so worth waiting for! Steady, consistent, interesting content is the way forward – and if you don’t have much of an audience yet, that’s ok – it gives you time to experiment without worrying.
Your list is less of a big deal than you’ve been told
Lots of online and offline courses will tell you the most important thing is your ‘list’ – the people who have given you their email address. A selection of current advice seems to be that you can’t blog without an opt in, you can’t have a business without a blog, and you certainly can’t have a blog without a list.
While there is some truth in the fact that the bigger your list, the more likely you are to have big paydays when you launch new products, Shenee points out that most courses and online products take 3-4 runs to become remotely profitable, and that many people sell from a very small list and do extremely well.
It really is quality not quantity that counts.
That idea you have? Try it and see what happens.
So you shouldn’t be put off by the website/blog/opt in/list/etc you “should” have before starting.
Neither should you assume you need to have a seventeen page business plan and financial forecasts before writing your first post about whatever it is that’s persistently lurking in your head. We are fortunate to be living through the internet revolution – so start a site and test the market.
Start a blog and write some posts, gather email addresses with a plugin like SeedProd’s Coming Soon Pro, set yourself a challenge to talk to twenty or fifty or a hundred people about your idea and get feedback, make a prototype and film it for YouTube… there are endless ways to start without freaking out, and without spending a fortune until you know whether the product or service will work.
Go on – transfer that idea from your head or your notebook out into the world.
You don’t have to be THE expert to be an expert
You know when you show your Gran how to send a picture message and she’s fascinated? Or when you pop in to see your parents and solve in ten minutes that pesky computer issue they’ve been having for weeks but haven’t wanted to bother you with? When you can spell “supercalifragilisticexpialadocious” without reference to Google and your colleagues think you’re some kind of genius?
What comes easily to you, doesn’t come easily to everyone else. And you don’t have to be a world leading expert in order to appear expert to, and be truly helpful to, the people you serve.
So don’t be put off by knowing less than someone you admire – just make sure you know more about your subject than the people you want as your clients.
What have you learned, that goes against conventional business wisdom?
Curled up with a book and a cat. Taking pictures. Writing. Making and eating good food. Time with friends. Pottering, making my home my own. Househunting. Doodling. Dressing up. Daydreaming. Crafting. Learning. Dancing. Collecting. Believing in unicorns.
Your happy doesn’t have to match anyone else’s expectations or what anyone else does. Each of us has our own unique combination of things that we love to do, things we quite enjoy and things we’ll tolerate if we absolutely must.
It’s no secret that I’m a great believer in talismans – visual or physical (or both) representations of what means the most to you.
Things you’re aiming or hoping or striving for; things you want to be reminded of; dreams you’re chasing; anything you want to keep in mind.
And I’m also a convert to the power of manifesting – or making what you want happen. The concept has undergone a bit of a transformation, from something totally away with the fairies to something more concrete and tangible, and I believe much more socially acceptable than it was a few years ago. (It’s possible I just hang out with very open, likeminded people, but either way I don’t much care what people think – it works for me!)
I’m the biggest fan of magic going, but actually I’m not convinced manifesting is particularly ethereally magical. I think it’s a more practical magic – if you get clear on what you want and remind yourself of this regularly, then you’re much more likely to notice opportunities to make it happen – opportunities that may otherwise have passed you by.
Gratitude and goals lists are already part of my daily routine – usually the last thing I do at night before I put the lights off and snuggle up with a cat on my head (yes, really – Luna-kitty refuses to sleep on the bed unless she’s on my head, purring loudly into my ear. It’s a surprisingly nice way to fall asleep). These tend to be more immediate – things from the day I’m thankful for, things I hope to achieve in the next few days/weeks/months. I have a list for each year too, though I’ve not yet shared that here.
So when I saw Leonie’s suggestion in her 2015 Shining Year workbook to create a dream board for the year ahead, I jumped on it – a wonderful combination of talisman and manifesting list!
I covered an old noticeboard in pretty fabric, and found a teacup to store my pins. Then I dug out my scrapbooking stash, some precious objects, my 2015 intentions list and my Pinterest boards and proceeded to create a visual representation of the things that mean most to me and the things I intend, hope for, wish for and plan for in the coming year.
At the top is my Hogswatch 2014 medal – as one of the outstanding highlights of 2014, and with the passing of Terry Pratchett while I was away in Texas, Hogswatch 2015 in Wincanton is the one event I will be at by hook or by crook this year.
On the other side is a Night Circus inspired embroidery my gorgeous friend Gabby made for me – to remind me to keep my imagination, my dreams and my eclectic style going and not succumb to normality.
Then there are the other pins – ranging from reminders to inspiring quotes to business goals to personal aspirations, skills I want to acquire and experiences I want to have, things that inspire me and beautiful things I’d love to have in my life (velvet cloak, anyone?).
I add to it constantly, and tick things off as I achieve them too. It lives in my living room, at the heart of my house – and it’s one of the best ways I’ve ever had of keeping track of multiple intentions.
Big thanks to Leonie – I’m already excited to see how it’ll look by the end of the year!
You know how it is – you’re rushing around, juggling your business, your day job, kids, family, friends, social arrangements, getting the car MOT-ed and trying to find time to clean the house without waking the neighbours at 1am with the hoover.
And as you sink into bed each night, you wonder how it is, exactly, that you’ve spent all day full speed ahead but don’t feel like you’ve actually achieved anything.
I’ve felt like this for all the time I’ve been running my businesses – because between my shop and Unfurling, Ink Drops and my day job, I am more or less constantly on the go.
And yet you are doing SO much more than you give yourself credit for.
How do I know this? Well, at the start of 2015 I set up my achievements jars. I think I first came across them on Pinterest though I have no idea whose pin they were.
I have one (the biggest) in my living room, by my dream board, one on my desk at home,
and one on my day job desk.
Next to each one I keep a little stash of torn up pieces of paper (a great way of using scrap that would otherwise go in the recycling straight away).
During the day, I scribble down what I’ve just done and pop the pieces into whichever jar is nearest, and empty the jars regularly into my beloved Ikea resealable patterned plastic bags.
They can be as small as “played with kitties” or as big as “added new products to my website”; as mundane as “hung washing before work” and as exciting as “ordered prototypes of custom talisman” or “successful experiment with new bangles”.
The idea is that by keeping track of even the tiny things, you see the paper build up and have a tangible reminder that although it may feel like you’re not achieving anything, you are Doing. So. Much. And so much good!
You can adapt the concept for a memory jar, for compliments, for good days – but I like this simple catch-all, and it has really helped me to take a moment to notice what I do.
And realise that every single thing I do, from everyday routine to motivated action to much-needed rest time, is moving me forward into the life I’m designing, not just the obvious things.
Try it – you might just be surprised at how much you’re achieving without giving yourself credit.
I'm Carla, a quirky thirtysomething with a penchant for unicorns and glitter. I believe in magic and make-believe, and the gorgeous rebellion of making your life absolutely your own. And I'm a proud multipod!
Proud to be both girly and geeky, when I’m not writing, photographing or daydreaming, you can find me dancing burlesque, riding my bicycle Bluebell, growing herbs and collecting typewriters.
Things I want to do in 2020. Partly from my Daydreams To Do list and also from my general goals for the year.
~ Steampunk events
~ experiment with film cameras
~ walk more
~ explore Colchester
~ beach time
~ kitty portraits
~ western riding
~ spa days
~ learn to make bath bombs
~ recreate Lush's Angel's Delight soap fragrance
~ work in sterling silver
~ build a catio
~ handwritten letters
~ photobook of the house project, the cats, Poppy & Dad
~ print my own photos