Category Archives: INSPIRE

Introducing ‘Friends With Business Benefits’: A podcast for creatives

December 3, 2018

LISTEN / WORK

Friends With Business Benefits Logo

I’ve launched a podcast!!! If you follow me on Instagram you *may* have heard me talking about it. 😉 Friends With Business Benefits is live and available to download on your podcast app now.

I’m co-hosting the show alongside my business bestie Franky (also known as Love Audrey). Franky and I have been having regular co-mentoring sessions for almost two years. Working for yourself can be lonely at times but through our monthly co-mentoring meetups we’ve found the support and accountability we were craving in our working lives. You can hear all about what co-mentoring is and how we do it in our very first episode. Also, Franky’s blog post on five things she’s gained from co-mentoring is a great read if you want to know more.

Our podcast will be an extension of our co-mentoring sessions, as we share our conversations and delve into the type of topics that have come up for us again and again as we navigate self-employed life. We’ll be chatting about money and pricing, habits and productivity, social media and marketing and everything in between. We’re hoping our fellow freelancers and creative business owners will find the show enjoyable, useful and relatable and we absolutely want to hear your opinion on these topics too. Share with us using the hashtag #friendswithbizbenefits and tag us in your posts @_charlieswift and @loveaudrey83.

Subscribe here

I’m ridiculously happy to be ending 2018 finally being able to call myself a podcaster and I’m so excited to share these conversations with you.

Discoveries | 01

August 7, 2018

INSPIRE

Cocorrina & Co

Cocorrina & Co

These images to leave you awe-inspired…

I’m just so into these gorgeous creations by Corina Nika. I discovered her magical Instagram the same week as the lunar eclipse which seemed pretty perfect to me. I’ve got wonderfully lost delving into her feed and the design work on her site. It’s safe to say I’m obsessed.

These cards to send to a friend in need…

I love the ethos of The Paper Elephant Project “Whilst the sending of cards for a physical health problem is entirely commonplace in society, research has shown that those experiencing mental health problems very rarely receive a card at all.” Their cards include phrases like ‘I am so proud of your courage’ and ‘You’re not alone in this’. Such simple but powerful sentiments to send to someone going through a tough time.

This podcast which will make you long for a pen pal…

A new find for me last week and I’ve already binged my way through most of the back catalogue. ‘Dispatch to a Friend’ is a podcast sharing the correspondence between two friends. In their letters, they discuss recipes, gardening, books and share little everyday moments from their lives. It’s the most delightful listen.

These words to lift your spirits…

I came across the following passage a few weeks ago and it spoke deeply to my soul. I wasn’t aware of Morgan Harper Nichols previously but I’m so glad I have found her beautiful writing.

“Perhaps, even here, I am growing.
When the days are long and I do not feel as strong and when the hours go by slower than they ever have before,
and the sun is shining and I am lost indoors,
perhaps even here I am growing…”

My Winter Playlist

December 3, 2017

LISTEN

It’s all a bit “here’s one I made earlier” for Blogmas post day three. This is a playlist I return to every year around this time. A playlist of songs that aren’t quite Chrismassy but seem to evoke the seasonal spirit.

It’s perfect if you’re feeling festive but you have already had your fill of Mariah…maybe you’re a Grinchy Christmas music hater, or maybe you just love folky types singing about winter – either way, this one’s for you!

Winter Winds: Track List

Kate Bush – Army Dreamers
Antony and the Johnsons – For Today I am A Boy
Mumford & Sons – Winter Winds
Laura Marling – Goodbye England Covered In Snow
Martin Grech – Push
The Staves – Winter Trees
Joni Mitchell – River
Matthew and the Atlas – Come Out Of The Woods
Rufus Wainwright – Hallelujah

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Check out my other playlists and recommendations in the Music + Playlists series.

Blogmas… am I mad?

December 1, 2017

INSPIRE

Well probably, I appreciate that attempting to make any sort of commitment is a bit mental when I have a baby due on the 12th of the month. However, hear me out…

Now I’m all done with client work and on maternity leave, I actually have quite a lot of free time while I’m playing the waiting game. The urge to nest has got me hell bent on tiding the house from top to toe, which is great but a little tiring so it’s actually a good idea to have something to focus on aside from cleaning out cupboards.

I also have a fair few blog posts that, aside from a few tweaks, are pretty much ready to go. So I’m hoping that an attempt at Blogmas will mean I hit publish on those posts that have been languishing in my drafts folder for far too long. Plus, as I’m such a sporadic blogger I have so much that I’ve been meaning to share that I’m definitely not going to run dry on content ideas.

That said, I’m aware it’s highly unlikely that I’ll manage to get *so* ahead with scheduled posts that I’ll post every day up until Christmas so I’m gonna go for something more manageable… twelve days of Blogmas here we go!

Are any of you doing Blogmas or Vlogmas? Do let me know and I’ll be sure to follow along. Also, I’d love to know if there’s anything you’d like me to blog about.

Autumn: A Playlist

October 10, 2017

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Holding red autumn leaf in the woods

I began creating a new autumnal playlist with a bit of a different vibe to all the others out there, but then I though… if Fleet Foxes aren’t included on your track list have you even made an autumn playlist though?

So, although I’ve popped in a couple of random songs I’m loving into the mix too, here’s a good old folk-tastic, seasonally inspired playlist. Perfect for soundtracking car trips through beautiful golden countryside, cosy afternoons spent at home or solo walks through the park with scrunching leaves underfoot.

Track Listing

First Aid Kit – Stay Gold (Spotify Session)
Fleet Foxes – If you Need To, Keep Time On Me
Matthew and the Atlas – Temple (acoustic version)
Kimya Dawson – Solid and Strong
Jens Lekman – A Postcard to Nina
Bombay Bicycle Club – Autumn
Nat King Cole – Autumn Leaves
Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong – Autumn in New York
The White Stripes – We’re Going To Be Friends
Emmy The Great – Paper Forest (In The Afterglow of Rapture)
Emiliana Torrini – Autumn Sun
Amanda Palmer – Bed Song

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WORN: Summer Brunch Club

July 7, 2017

STYLE

Brunch Club T-shirtBrunch Club T-shirt

I’ve finally been getting on top of backing up my photos that have been sitting on my phone for literally years now. My storage is in such a state that my phone has stopped functioning properly. I’ve been clearing the backlog and uploading to G Drive from the iCloud, all the while cursing myself for not deleting as I go, why are there so many duplicates?! Past me… you’re an idiot!

It’s not all bad however. One of the pros of this mind numbing job is discovering lovely forgot moments like this collection from last summer. I’m pulling all sorts of silly wannabe-fashion-blogger poses but I kind of love these shots as I look so happy. It was early June, the sun was shining, I was on the way to a BBQ with friends and feeling pretty pleased with my new Brunch Club T-shirt – what wasn’t there to be happy about eh? Plus that brick wall, white rose, wonky lamp post combo is a bit of a winner!

Brunch Club T-shirt

Brunch Club T-shirt

^^ Praise be to brunch! Reminds me of this Orange is the New Black meme 😂 ^^

Brunch Club T-shirt

T-Shirt – Brunch Club Tee still available from Our Fresh here
Denim shorts – H&M
Sandals – old Zara – similar here
Heart shaped sunglasses – old Accessories – similar here
Bumble Bee Necklace – Alex Monroe

Glimpses of a summer on film

June 3, 2017

INSPIRE

 Diana Mini Photography Glastonbury Festival Diana Mini Photography Glastonbury Festival  Diana Mini Photography Glastonbury Festival

I’ve had my Lomography Diana Mini a couple of years now but this is only the second film I have had developed from it. I go through phases of taking it with me on adventures and then forgetting about it all together for a while meaning that the shots I’ve got back span across a number of different occasions. This recent roll goes all the way back from Glastonbury 2015 to a friends wedding in August the following year!

The nature of the Diana mini brings lots of light leaks and double exposures, which with practice could surely use to greater effect, but for the most part I end up with happy accidents (plus a few disappointments) in the developed roll.

Regardless of the results it’s always fun to get a film back, discover what’s on there and take a little glimpse back in time. This little collection are the epitome of my summer – my favourite views at Glastonbury, cold drinks on hot days and friends looking dapper in summer wedding attire thrown in for good measure!

 Diana Mini Photography Glastonbury Festival  Diana Mini Photography  Diana Mini Photography  Diana Mini Photography

Words: A Day Away

April 17, 2017

INSPIRE

Durdledoor, Dorset, Feet in the sand, A Day AwayEvery person needs to take one day away.
A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.
Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us,
and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.

Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted,
no solutions searched for.
Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.

Maya Angelou (full poem here)

Perhaps the trend of sharing inspirational quotes and phrases online is seen as cheesy by some and I suppose there are some more famous quotations that get bandied about to the point of cliche. However, personally I’m thankful for this type of sharing because I think there’s something so special about coming across words that really resonate with you.

It might just be for a moment; you read a quote that lifts you up, provides inspiration or spurs some motivation that you were otherwise lacking. Or sometimes you come across quotes or phrases that speak to something deeper inside you and you know theses words will stay with you for a lot longer.

That’s how I felt when I first read A Day Away by Maya Angelou. Discovered on Instagram of course, these words although articulating something so simple just resonated with me. They are beautiful yet they feel instructional too; like a recipe for a more joyful life. Everyone needs A Day Away – to find some headspace, to unplug, to defend against burnout – it just makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?

Durdle Door Walking Away

For me a day away definitely involves a ‘digital detox’. I feel like it’s a cliche to say that these days, but I think it’s so important to take a break from the constant checking notifications and the mindless scrolling. Especially because all the apps and social channels are tools of my work, if I’m having a day away proper then I really have to disconnect entirely. I rely on social media daily; for distraction, for inspiration, for community and comfort, and to be honest I don’t mind relying on it for those things, but it definitely feels good to break the habit every now and then. I find that after a day or two of a blanket ban I am much more mindful of my usage – at least for a little while.

Ideally a day away for me would mean getting out of city; to the sea or the mountains. My head becomes the clearest when out in the wild and breathing in fresh air. I’m sure you might feel the same. That said, a day away doesn’t, and shouldn’t, have to be about literally getting away. It could be taking yourself to your favourite cafe or park, to a spa or to see a film.

I think the key, taking our cue from Maya Angelou, is a day spent not thinking about obligations or worrying on problems. Often it’s in those moments when you’re not searching for answers when things suddenly become oh so clear.

Maybe it’s something in the Spring air but I’ve noticed a couple of my blogging friends have recently put down thoughts in a similar vein. I urge you to go and read Lyzi’s post on Taking Time as well as Siobhan’s Lessons from the Mountains. Both are beautifully written, insightful pieces on taking a day (or days) away.

Playlist: Winter Winds

November 27, 2016

LISTEN

Winter Winds playlist

This is a playlist I return to every year around this time. A playlist of songs that aren’t quite Chrismassy but seem to evoke the seasonal spirit.

It’s perfect if you’re beginning to feel festive but you aren’t quite ready to embrace Bing just yet…maybe you’re a Grinchy Christmas music hater, or maybe you just love folky types singing about winter – either way, this one’s for you!

Track List

Kate Bush – Army Dreamers
Antony and the Johnsons – For Today I am A Boy
Mumford & Sons – Winter Winds
Laura Marling – Goodbye England Covered In Snow
Martin Grech – Push
The Staves – Winter Trees
Joni Mitchell – River
Matthew and the Atlas – Come Out Of The Woods
Rufus Wainwright – Hallelujah

Check out my other playlists and recommendations in the Music + Playlists series.

(image via Unsplash)

Squash Watch

November 11, 2016

INSPIRE

Squash Watch, Pumpkins on truck

During autumn over the last few years I have been sharing pumpkin pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #SquashWatch.

When I started popping the Squash Watch tag on my posts back in 2014 it was really just so I could look back through them myself; nothing makes me happier than the sight of pretty pumpkins at this time of year. The idea of the Instagram community connecting via a hashtag was not so much of a thing two years ago as it is today, not in a way I was aware of anyhow.

Squash Watch, Pale Pumpkins, Instagram #SquashWatch

|@blidandhatton | @catherine_frawley | @hellokiddostudio | @littlegreenshed |

Since my lovely friend Kym shared the #SquashWatch love, the # feed has been filling up and looking so very gourd-geous! This post features just a few of my favourites but please jump on to Instagram and marvel at the beautifully styled shots on the feed; it is entirely my happy place right now. And of course, keep tagging #SquashWatch – Halloween may have been and gone but the pumpkin party is still going strong on Instagram!

Squash Watch, Pumpkins, Instagram #SquashWatch

|@jmpsmithdesign | @muustardgirl | @kymgrimshaw | @littlegreenshed |

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