life, PMA

Looking forward.

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Everything in my life has brought me to where I am now. Every decision, every step, every chance I took, and even those I didn’t. That’s not to say it’s fate, I fully believe that we write our own stories.

I used to spend so much time beating myself up for bad decisions. I let regret take over and wallowed in it. I think we all have parts of our past we look back on and wince at, it’s only normal to make mistakes. But it’s important to acknowledge them, and even be grateful for them! Treat them as lessons leant and make use of them. If you can see the positive in them, they go from having power over you, to giving you power.

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life

Something wicked this way comes….

So, how have you been?

I’m good thanks, I know it’s been quiet here, but there’s been a lot going on behind the scenes….well, mostly in my brain, but still! 😅 I’m still trying to be vegan, and taking life back to basics in general. I’m focusing on self care & spring cleaning my life, nesting in my new home (it still feels weird to own it even now). I still don’t know what to do about the business… I still feel disconnected from it, but I’m slowly being creative again, so I know Stitches & Stars will continue, just not right now.

The blog is going to be more of an alternative lifestyle blog for now, so if you’re interested in spooky aesthetics, witchcraft, tarot, feminism, toys & general nerding out, great! If not, well…this is kinda awkward 😅

x

Uncategorized

Smear Campaign.

I know this is a subject some people don’t want to think about, or find embarrassing or grim to talk about, but really? It’s so important!

Without realising it, I booked my smear test on Monday, the first day of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week! Guess I’m on trend without even trying 😅 Yes, it’s weird to get half naked in front of a stranger, and even weirder to make small talk while they do the test, but it’s a few minutes of your day, and can make such a difference to your future! I know it can be uncomfortable and even slightly painful, but it really is for the greater good. So please, look after yourself and take advantage of the NHS and the free service they offer. If you need to, bribe yourself and get yourself a treat once it’s done, that always works for me!

What happens during a Smear test.

Look after yourselves lovelies xx

chit chat, life

V is for Vegan ❤️🌱

After a little break, it’s back to blogging! The first few weeks of January are always a slow time for me. I think it’s a combination of tiredness after all the festive excitement, taking stock of the year just gone and thinking about the year ahead. Last year was pretty full on, so now that I’m settled into my new home, I can plan for 2018.

On January first I signed up for Veganuary. Although I took part in it last year, I soon fell back into my old diet, but it just didn’t sit right with me and deep down I knew it wasn’t how I wanted to live. So staying positive, I’m feeling a lot more involved with it this year. Even though my brother Matt has been vegetarian for 20+ years, veganism is new to us all. My parents have shown real interest, Pa is keen to learn what products are vegan, and Ma has been busy finding new recipes to try when I visit ☺️ My favourite of them so far has been a delicious bean chilli!

My best friend Hana has taken the challenge too, so it’s really nice to have someone to talk to & explore new places to eat and recipes to try. My boyfriend Ste is a bit of a foodie, so he’s more than happy to try new vegan eats with me and suggest recipes. So far Linda McCartney sausage rolls have impressed him the most 👌🏻 He also added a soya milk wash to them before cooking and it made them even more perfect!

Personally, I’ve found the most effective way to encourage a vegan change is through kindness and sharing recipes and advice. Some of my favourite accounts to follow on Instagram are @floralfrosting, @sweetseitan and @canterburyvegan. They all post amazing looking food and promote veganism in a lovely way. The Vegan Kind, Fat Gay Vegan and @accidentallyvegan are also really inspiring and useful resources. Don’t get me wrong, I’m such a newbie, but these have really helped me.

I’m always happy to talk about my experience so far, and I’m definitely up for any advice or recommendations to help me on my vegan adventure! I’d also love to hear about your vegan experiences too, so feel free to share ☺️

chit chat, life, wednesday wishes

Hello 2018!

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Crikey, where does the time go?! Today is the first day of 2018 and I still can’t get over how much everything has changed in a short time! This year is the first time in really…well ever, that I’ve found my own confidence, and I’ve felt as happy and as peaceful as I do.

So for this year it is really important for me to stay motivated and live the good life.  I want to cut back on material things and declutter, keep being creative, spend time with my people and find the magic in every day. 🙂

Since we all know I love a good list, I thought it’d be neat to make one of goals, priorities and things to do…although, like me, it’s a work in progress!

  • Keep being brave.
  • Make time for self care.
  • Do yoga/pilates regularly.
  • Be more vegan
  • Cook more.
  • Restart Stitches & Stars (and rebrand!).
  • Read 36 books.
  • Watch 52 films.
  • Get the spare room/studio sorted.
  • Listen to more music.
  • Create for fun – not just for the business.
  • Make my house a home – well, more so!
  • Spend time with the people that matter.

I know, I know…exercise, eating better…not groundbreaking goals for New Years’ resolutions but then I guess you can’t beat the classics! For me they are also tied into self care and my mental health. It’s a catch 22, when they fall by the wayside, I know I’m struggling…but when I’m struggling, its so hard to look after myself. However, I can only do my best, and that’s what I plan to spend 2018 doing! So no more beating myself up, avoiding issues or putting up with shit. 2017 has shown me that I’m stronger than I ever thought possible, and that I have so many ridiculously lovely people in my life, so I’m all set.

I really hope 2018 is kind to everybody.

Much love, Jess x

chit chat, Uncategorized

A fresh start…


…and I don’t just mean blog wise!

So much has changed since I last blogged. I’m both not the same person and on the other hand, more me, more certain than I’ve ever been.

I’ve been signed off work for 2 months with anxiety and depression, I went through CBT, I (well we, it was mutual) decided to separate (and then get divorced). I moved house. To put it mildly, it’s been exhausting. But its also been liberating, and exciting. Yes, there’s been low patches, and tears, and more than a few panic attacks. There’s been days of muddling through in a zombie like fog. But then there’s been laughter, as in so much it makes me cry (happy tears!). There’s been support, I am surrounded by so many fantastic people, and feel so chuffing lucky to have the friends & family that I do. And there’s been strength. I am so much stronger than I thought, and again this is partly (a big part) down to the support!

But what I’ve gone through isn’t easy. Sitting down with people you know and telling them you’re depressed, that you’re getting divorced is a test in itself. Admitting it to yourself is the worst and trickiest bit. But I did it, and I did it while focusing on the good, looking on the bright side, taking the piss and having a laugh. Yeah, I know I’m tooting my own horn here, but fuck it I deserve it!

So while the business takes a back seat and gets rebranded and relaunched next year, I’m going to blog. Stitches & Stars has always been about spreading good vibes, but now I really have focus and a stronger understanding of that. So thank you so much for reading this, and for still being on team Stitches. Your support really means the world to me, and I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings for us.

Much love,

Jess

chit chat

Doing all reet.

Running your own business and working full time…fun right? I know a lot of people are in the same boat as me and in all fairness, the struggle is real! Stitches & Stars is my end goal, so although it’s hard work juggling two jobs, it’s all for the greater good. I do like my day job, the team I work with are amazing and the work, for the most part, is non-stressful. Plus, weekends off and flexitime hours really help with running my own business. The benefit of a steady income is also a huge bonus, and gives me more security.

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Adding to this, I also suffer from anxiety, which doesn’t always help when it comes to staying motivated and keeping on top of things. Sometimes it’s a struggle to get through the day, never mind juggle two jobs and my own life as well.

I know that’s a bit of a negative start, but hold on, it’s going somewhere better! Stitches & Stars originally started way back in 2010, when I made handmade beads for The Bead Shop Nottingham. However, after taking a few years out, I restarted and refocused in January 2016 – so really it feels like it’s still a brand new business. Sometimes I find it all to easy to compare myself to others and mentally beat myself up for not doing as well/growing as fast etc but looking back, the last year has been awesome! I actually accomplished more than I expected and I’m so proud of myself and the business.

After a few tweaks, I settled on my logo and branding (big thanks to Mark/Mr Stitches for all his help – technical, advice, support….everything!) and also kept my etsy shop up and running all year!

I launched a new range of products featuring my own hand drawn typography. I think this really helped, as it gave a strong personal connection to the business.

I got 3 new stockists! Two Little Magpies, Maison Royale and Handmade Nottingham.

I donated a prize and helped raise money for Smile & Make charity auction for the Michael Barry Fund.

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Along side Mike (The Crafty Gentleman), Amy (Hope the Black Dog) and Hana (The Bead Shop Nottingham) I took part in (and won!!) The Craft Off! Don’t get me wrong, the winning was amazing, but I was just so happy that I took part. I had never met Mike or Amy before, although we were instagram friends, and I didn’t know what to expect from the competition. I loved it! We were given a theme and then had 1 hour to create something, so there was no time for me to get nervous or over think! Despite never having worked together, we all just clicked and used our various skills to build a crafty plant! It was so nice to meet other creative people, and even more excitingly, we’ve made our own little craft group, so now we have crafternoons and a support network. ❤

I took part in 2 big craft fairs – Handmade Notts and the Etsy Made Local Christmas fair. I had been years since my last small craft fairs, and my first ones with my new branding and ranges. Both were well organised and busy, and it was lovely to get to meet other local makers and businesses!

I also got involved with the Nottingham Etsy Team. Throughout the year they held some really useful talks and have been so supportive. I even went to one of the talks all by myself….a small step for some people, but massively out of my comfort zone! This also gave me the confidence to join Stitch and Bitch, a lovely group who meet monthly to craft at The Malt Cross.

So all in all, 2016 was a pretty sweet year! I have a business that makes me proud, keeps me happy and gives me something to focus on and work towards my future with. Just as importantly though, relaunching Stitches & Stars has introduced me to a whole group of lovely, supportive and inspiring people, and given me some brilliant new friends as well. I’ve also realised that if I’m not being creative, it really does have a negative impact on me. My anxiety was being to border on depression, and I didn’t feel like myself anymore. Reconnecting to my artistic side and forcing myself out of my comfort zone have made a ridiculous difference and I’m so much happier for it. Although I’m currently signed off due to my anxiety/stress, this creativeness has given me a lifeline to focus on and a distraction from all the sadness from the last two years.

I also want to give a shout out to Mark and the rest of my family for being so supportive of both me and my business. I know it’s cliche to say ‘I couldn’t do it without them’ but it’s true! Literally in Mark’s case, he’s my tech-wizard and has helped me get into the digital side of it all.

So there, I told you that this was a happy post really! Next time I’ll be sharing my goals for this year, so see you then!

Much Love,

x

In Colourful Company

In Colourful Company – Nottingham Colour Walk ❤️

In Colourful Company is a group founded by the always lovely Toni of Hello Bee Studio. I’ve followed her for a while on instagram, so when she mentioned the group, I jumped at the chance to join!

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Especially while I’ve been struggling with my anxiety recently, it has been amazing to be part of such a kind, supportive group. Not only is it a creative online community, but it also includes meet ups & events in real life too! I joined after the first colour walk, so I was over the moon when they announced the second one, and in my home town too! Katie, Karen and I (with some help from Sam) organised a route that included visits to Hopkinsons, Doughnotts and Cobden Chambers. Luckily for us, Nottingham has a strong graffit/street art scene, so despite the gloomy weather, we still found the colour!

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After a few hours of exploring, we headed to Annie’s for burgers…be still my heart! The service was great and the food, as always, was fantastic! Mark the chef went all out, and nothing was too much trouble!

I must admit, I was super nervous beforehand, but everyone was so welcoming & friendly, I felt right at home! I really feel that I’ve made some good friends and I can’t wait to get more involved with the group!

If you want to see more, you can search the #incolourfulcompany tag on instagram, or watch the amazing video that Toni made! Honestly, this captures the magic so well!

Ahhhh, happy times!
Until next time, 😘

chit chat

Hey you,

Blogging….it’s a bit weird. You think as an introvert, I’d be pretty used to talking to myself, but still, I think this will take some getting used to.

 

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Anyway, Hello you! Thanks for stopping by and spending some time with me. Honestly, I’m not sure where this blog is going to go. Mostly a behind the scenes of Stitches & Stars, with some getting to know me thrown in I think.

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I’m Jess, I’m 34, living in Nottingham with my husband/best friend Mark & our Pug/Boston cross Elvis. By day I work for the council, and I run Stitches & Stars in my free time. I think my favourite thing about me is my imagination, although sometimes it’s hard to escape my own head, it’s generally a cool place to be. I don’t like being photographed or stepping out my comfort zone, but these are things that I’m working on.

I love horror movies, make up, toys and singing along badly to pop punk. I struggle with anxiety and overthinking, I get distracted and sometimes life feels so overwhelming that I can’t deal with it and I hide. But still, I’m working on it.

Last year I restarted Stitches & Stars after a really long break, and I’m so happy I did. Being creative is a huge part of me, and Stitches gives me a focus and purpose. Life can be tough, and we can all use some cheer and encouragement sometimes. Through my work I try to convey positive thinking and a cheeky sense of humour.

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Over the next few blogs, I’ll post an overview of last year, and look at hopes & goals for this year. So bye for now, thank you so much for stopping by & hopefully see you again soon!