Personality Within Professionalism

I'm currently in my final year (*sob*) of my undergraduate degree in Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design and I feel a bit lost. Everyone around me seems to be crafting some kind of "professional identity" ready for graduate job seeking - creating websites, branding themselves, switching their instagram profiles to business accounts and shrugging off the informal identities they've had online for years. It seems trivial to even be writing a post about this, but I guess I'm looking for some kind of reassurance in a sea of uncertainty. Can I maintain the open and honest reputation I've built for myself online whilst still being attractive to potential employers?

ÜGOT | The Ultimate Nutritious Brunch

Ever on the quest for a delicious new brunch spot, Joe and I recently stumbled upon ÜGOT on Instagram and knew that it would be right up our street (unfortunately not literally). Less than 48 hours later, we were sunning ourselves outside their little Harrogate store and pouring over their extensive menu, excited to sink our teeth into some delicious, wholesome food. If you're reading this and you're hungry then I apologise for how much hungrier the yummy photos to follow will probably make you... 

Dissertation Writing: What I've Learnt So Far

The third and final year of my university course is fast approaching (eeek!) and so I've been really knuckling down recently and dedicating a lot of my free time to dissertation research. I've officially picked my studio space (a prime position by a big window and a radiator so I'll be cosy this winter) and moved all of my arty stuff back into it. I'm feeling very eager to get back to studio life - I love the sense of routine it gives me and having a large, bright, open space filled with plants to work in is very motivational, as is being surrounded by the most creative people I've ever met for 10+ hours a day. Sometimes I struggle creatively when I'm working alone so being able to bounce ideas off people who are on the same wavelength as me is always helpful. I feel like I've learnt a lot about dissertation writing in only a few short weeks so I thought I'd write a little post about how I'm finding it so far - regular updates to follow. And probably a few teary moments, too; much like Winter, dissertation related breakdowns are coming.

Self Reflection: Having Bad Days

It's 3:30am and I'm wide awake. I've got a cup of tea in one hand (overly sweetened) and my phone in the other (overly used) and my brain is in a bit of a funk. Somehow I've let myself get sucked into a pit of bad feels again and all rational thought has disappeared. I talk openly and honestly quite frequently on my blog about my mental health issues, but I always try to keep a positive tone as it's easy to get bogged down in the nitty gritty details. I've spent the last 15 minutes or so rereading and reflecting upon two of my most read posts (Eating Disorder Recovery: It's Okay To Feel and Asking For Help Is Okay) which I wrote just over a year ago now, and it almost feels as if I can't possibly have been the one to write them. I think that limiting myself to these kind of positive ~inspirational~ posts doesn't give an accurate representation of what it's like to live with a brain that seems to love dwelling upon negativity. Surely talking about the negative things that we experience on a daily basis can be as beneficial as the subsequent super positive posts about overcoming them? (Fun drinking game: take a shot every time I write "problems"...)

The Sound of July ♫

I've never had the most diverse taste in music ever and sometimes I go months without listening to anything new at all, but recently I've been listening to music constantly and really enjoying it. There's something extremely motivating about listening to music whilst working and I love the positive effect it can have on my mood. I think working in retail and hearing the same songs over and over again is a very annoying effective way to get into artists I'd never usually listen to. Thanks to H&M's in store playlist I've seen my music taste do a complete flip this summer. I've been preferring more upbeat music and how summery it makes me feel. I've also just invested in Spotify Premium (after stealing Joe's for the last 2 years...) and I am really, really loving the Discover Weekly playlist so maybe sharing some of my faves will become a more regular thing! Please feel free to recommend me any artists/songs you think I'd enjoy and let me know your fave summery songs ☀

A Happy Milestone - 500 followers!!

Earlier this week I sat down to read through some of my favourite blogs on Bloglovin' and noticed that my own blog had reached 500 followers!! If you know me pretty well then you know that in the past I've given myself a really hard time about my blog - I felt like I was putting effort into something that I was never satisfied with and I was forever comparing myself to my favourite, more established bloggers. However, a few months back I read this post by my lovely friend Beth, whom I've followed and admired for years now, and I had a kind of epiphany. Beth touched on a few things that really resonated with me in regards to both my blog and my outlook on life in general. I realised that comparison really is the thief of joy and that I needed to take a step back and focus on my own journey. I revisited some of my very old blogposts from 2012 (no longer available for you guys to read, thank God) and noted down the things that I loved about blogging back then. I mostly used this blog to begin with as a way of recording memories, personal achievements and happy, exciting things that I knew I'd want to look back on in the future. The pressure that I put on myself to ~be the perfect blogger~ meant that in reality I'd become the shittest blogger ever because I was barely posting. Any post that I planned out ended up in the bin because I wasn't enjoying the content; the way I was writing didn't sound like me and I despised every photo I took because it didn't match the image I had in my mind. I decided to scrap the ideal that I'd built up in my head, stop trying to fit into one specific 'category' and just focus on being me. I know I haven't turned into some crazy blogging machine since but I've been really enjoying blogging again. I'm excited about the content that I want to create, the memories that I want to share and finally having the opportunity to share my artwork in a more detailed way. And I just wanted to say thanks to you guys for stickin' around, supporting me and encouraging me to carry on because I really appreciate it! ♥

La Bottega Milanese 'By Night'

Joe and I recently attended an evening of Italian yummies, summery cocktails and deliciously smooth coffee at one of my favourite independent coffee shops in Leeds - La Bottega Milanese - in celebration of their new extended opening times. I've written about La Bottega before, listing it in my Leeds: A Tour Of Good Coffee post (still one of my favourite and most popular blog posts I've ever written) and so I was keen to join in the celebrations and report back to you guys!

☀ Posi-Post #2 ☀

I wanted to try and upload these Posi-Posts as often as possible but July got off to a bit of a rocky start and made being in a positive mindset that little bit harder. And, as usual, I fell into the trap of just letting life and its accompanying negativity wash over me and affect all the things I usually love doing. Grumpy Hayley reappeared in full force. It's a cycle that I've been trying to break for the past couple of years and although I'm getting better at restoring my mood balance, I still find it difficult to drag myself out of a funk. Luckily, I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel again and I've been able to reflect on the parts of July that I've really enjoyed so far!

The Process #1 | Tropical Leafy Papercut

I've spent the past couple of months taking every little opportunity to make progress on the papercut for my giveaway winner Lucy! She's been super, super patient with me (bless her) and so I've been able to produce a piece with more fine detail than anything I've ever cut before. It's been a long process but I've really enjoyed it and feel like I've managed to create something that I can be proud of giving away!! I took quite a few progress pictures along the way so I thought it'd be interesting to share the process with you as I think a lot of the effort which goes into papercutting can sometimes be overlooked! :)

☀ Posi-Post #1 ☀

I'm going to try and post a 'Posi-Post' weekly over summer to document good things that have been happening in my life in a long awaited attempt to become a more positive human! I get a bit down during the summer months (I'm 100% a winter person) and tend to view everything that happens between May and August with a negative mindset. I think that making a conscious effort to look for happy things will do me the world of good and hopefully lead to a mind full of happy summer memories!

Creative Workspace Wishlist

university room tour
[Click or hover over the photo for shop names] It's 2 weeks until I move house (the excitement is real) and I've been obsessively planning what my new workspace will be like. I've learnt a lot this year about how important having a good work environment is and so I'm eager to try to recreate my university studio in my bedroom. After spending a year designing in a dark basement bedroom, I'm excited to have a light, airy space full of plants, warm blankets (an essential for nighttime designing) and inspiring prints. I have a bit more space in our new home so I'm planning on getting a big desk from IKEA with a set of drawers down one side to offer more storage for all of my arty bits and bobs! If you're interested you can see more interior inspiration here :)

Love, Hails.

Made Here | LCA Degree Show Favourites

On Friday I attended the private viewing of the Leeds College of Art degree show 'Made Here'. As usual, I was absolutely blown away by the standard of work across courses and thought I'd pick out a few of my favourite bits to show you!  As you'll be able to see by the following snaps, I'm really loving the use of colour and pattern!! Obviously I'm a bit biased and think that the Printed Textiles exhibition really was the star of the show, but Fine Art produced some amazing pieces this year which really caught my eye. I feel so proud to be a part of such a creative bunch of people. The degree show is open 9am-8pm until 15th June and then 9am-5pm on the 16th June so if you're in/around Leeds it's definitely worth making a visit :)

Theo Riviere - Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern -

Elemis BioTec Skin Energising Range | Review

I change my skincare routine regularly in search of products that will address my multitude of skincare woes. However, a lot of products seem to have a nasty habit of initially working really well but failing to make a difference long term, which is why I never really share anything skincare related on my blog. I've been trying out the new Elemis BioTec Skin Energising range for around 3 weeks now and thought it'd be a good idea to do a "first impressions" of how I've been getting on with them.

The Instagram Recovery Community

I've spoken a lot on my blog about my personal experience with an eating disorder and most recently I touched upon eating disorder recovery itself, but I've never really spoken about something that was an integral part of my life for almost a year - the Instagram recovery community. I decided to write this post after revisiting my recovery instagram (now private and unused) and seeing people I care about still trapped in negative cycles. If you're part of this community or know someone who is then this post might shed some light on how potentially dangerous it can be to recovery. If you're unfamiliar with the Instagram recovery community then let me explain what it is. [Trigger Warning: Eating Disorders & Behaviours] [Long Post Warning]

New Year's Resolutions: 2016

At the end of 2014 I made one New Year's Resolution - to be a good cacti mom and keep all 3 of my babies alive until 2015. I succeeded. You might think that's an easy task but I am a renowned (accidental) cacti killer. But succeeding at one small thing has given me the confidence to make more small resolutions for 2016, which I will also hopefully be able to stick to!