Sadly I was absent around these parts last month and for that I apologise. As the title of this post suggests, life has been pretty hectic of late.
I am confessing today about my canny ability to spread myself too thin, have my finger in way too many pies and have much more on more plate than I can reasonably handle.
Here’s all the hats I’ve been adorning of late:
- Son’s taxi
- Celebration inspiration blogger
- President of a newly formed Women’s Institute
- University Administrator
- Vintage Cocktail Bar hostess
- Vintage online shop owner
There are only so many hours in the day, days in the week and so on. I am sure, you know the deal too. Heck, I bet many more of you are juggling way more than this, but we each have our own threshold and I have definitely kicked the arse out of mine.
There is a need to eat, to sleep, to spend quality time with family and friends. There is a house to clean (I find dusting therapeutic, but have a love hate relationship with the hoover), dinners to cook (or put in the oven) and endless piles of washing to be done.
So, somethings gotta give.
A few weeks ago I had to look at all of the above and decide which one I needed to say ‘adios amigos’ to before I checked myself in to the clinic with a large dose of ‘overdone it again, you will never learnitis’.
It was a bit of a no-brainer in the end. I have to drop the one that doesn’t quite fit and flow with everything that I am currently trying to achieve.
The ethos of the blog is celebration inspiration, the vintage bar hire service is an extension of that and is progressing naturally, growing organically and I truly love attending wedding fairs and events with them. They generate such interest, people love them just as much as I do and that is wonderful.
However, the shop is proving to be not a very good fit. I’ve tried to do a Usain before I’m off the starting block so to speak.
This is the picture that sealed the deal really, made me throw in the proverbial towel and call time on this element of the Trawlergirl empire.
This is one of a pair of bookends that I recently sold on Etsy, packed them within an inch of their life when sending them off to their new life in Italy.
I was gutted to receive this photograph, and it’s not the first item that has met its fate in this way too. And to be completely honest I cannot cope with this kind of image anymore. I actually feel like I am sending these vintage pieces who had a nice happy little life in the charity shop until I spotted them and packing them off to meet their death at the hands of an overzealous postal worker.
I am missing blogging too and interacting and contacting all of the lovely people who are interested in the bars. I have plans to organise events in the future too and I can’t do all that whilst searching the internet for ’100 ways to pack a plate so it doesn’t get mullered in transit’
It was a relief to make the decision and I have renewed hope and energy for the projects that I can now devote my attention to instead.
I suppose that the lessons learnt from this are threefold
- If it’s not broken, don’t package it and try and send it some place. Leave it to the experts.
- I still love all things vintage, retro and kitsch, retailing online though is just not my niche.
- Finding out that some ventures are just not for me is almost as satisfying as finding the ones that are.
So come on ladies, I would love to hear about your experiences of a similar nature too. What one thing inspired you to throw in the towel on a venture you knew was doomed?
Love, headless deer and bubble wrap,
As we are now Team Fe-line, WHOOP, we thought it would be fun to every once in a while each nominate something that we have seen that we think is awesome and won the Fe-line Paw of Approval.
My Fe-line Paw of Approval has to go to Gala Darling and her Radical Self Love Salons. As we know Fe-liners it isn’t always easy to be kind and encouraging to ourselves but Gala has this magical way of making women see how amazing they are. I met her when I did The Blogcademy and she has this amazing aura about her, she’s very genuine and easy to talk to and I can only imagine how much this course helps people. I unfortunately found out about the Salon too late to go to the London date but I am booking myself in to the next one this side of the pond for sure.
My favourite find this month was Gabby Young and Other Animals at Cornbury Festival. Gabby shone out from the line up with her awesome red locks and quirky style, including an amazing dress from Collectif that I have had my eye on! The band bring together sweet pop melodies with an eccentric circus swing twist. Gabby hails from Wiltshire and her boundless creativity doesn’t just stop at music, she also has a great love for gardening and making lots of fabulous pieces. She even promotes UK designers and has a little online shop with pieces she loves. This girl combines a gorgeous sense of style with great music and oodles of fun besides.
This month, I’d like to award my Paw of Approval to an incredibly simple, but oh-so-very useful app.
I came across a recommendation for 30/30 on The Dexterous Diva’s blog and it has revolutionised my working day. It’s a pretty simple concept, you create tasks for yourself and give each one a time limit – a typical task list for me would include items such as checking in with my journal, working on my next Fe-line post, loading the dishwasher, and breaking for an all-important cup of tea. The beauty of scheduling like this is that you can see that there’s time to fit it all in; task #4 may well be the most important, but you don’t need to panic and start on it straight away as there is time to comfortably fit in tasks 1-3 first (on my list these are usually 1 exercising, 2 showering, and 3 getting dressed – leads to some awkward conversations with house callers if I skip them). The other benefit of having an electronic schedule is that it’s completely editable so if you find that your current task needs a bit longer and you want to stick with it or if you need to move up your tea break, you can switch things around without having to start again. I also love that, if time’s up on a task and you’ve yet to mark it complete, 30/30 will automatically move it to the end of the list so you can come back to it later rather than struggling through when the momentum’s clearly gone.
I’d like to give Giffords Circus my Fe-line Paw of Approval this month. Giffords Circus tour around the Cotswolds every summer bringing their unique form of circus to village greens and parks across Oxfordshire and further afield. They travel and live in wooden wagons and perform a distinctive kind of cosy, traditional circus show. You get to see a mix of stand out clowning from regular Tweedy Clown, juggling, acrobatics, contortionism, equestrian vaulting, brilliant live music and more, all presented under a different theme each year with hand made costumes and loads of make up. Nell started up Giffords Circus with her husband Toti in 2000 and over the last 14 years it has become staple summer entertainment for many, thanks to its vintage character, awesome physical exploits and great sense of playfulness. You can find out more by reading Nell’s book The First Ten Years and I would definitely recommend their current show, The Thunders, touring until late September!
Recently I’ve found myself to be on a bit of a hamster wheel. I’ve been on the go constantly, utterly shattered and have very little time. All this while still accomplishing very little. Until one day I woke up extremely angry with myself for allowing myself to get into this mess. It was in that temper that my life overhaul began. Instead of beating myself up and eating myself into oblivion I decided it was time to sort my sh*t out and here is how I did it.
Have a clear out
Like many people I have far too much sh*t. Not too many possessions, too many things but sh*t. You know what I mean, the wardrobe, the drawer full of things you haven’t seen for a year but keep “just in case”. I got rid of all of this. I mean everything! Clothes I hadn’t worn, makeup that was out of date, books that would never be read again-all gone. Obviously, where possible everything was donated or recycled. Now this can be a mammoth task, but I promise you once you are done you feel so much better! It is so much easier to be efficient and positive when your home is organised and clean. I realise that some of you have very real commitments and dedicating an entire weekend to pulling your house apart is not possible. Fear not, start with one shelf at a time. That’s it. One shelf, one drawer, one corner a day. It’s a small job but if you do it once a day you’ll have your house organised in no time and without huge effort.
Move your body
Also known as the nutrition and exercise section. I’m not gonna preach here. I fully acknowledge that I am a fat chick who is lazy as sin. How and ever the last few weeks I have gotten up off my arse and I feel so much better. Let’s call a spade a shovel here kids, I’m not running marathons, I’m not running at all! But a brisk walk in the morning has really helped me in ways I never thought it would. My anxiety isn’t as bad as it usually is, I have much more energy during the day, I sleep better at night and I’m getting fitter. All that and it’s free! Now pretty please don’t go too hard on yourself in the beginning because it’s going to be hard. If like me you barely shifted off the couch take it easy. The last thing you want is to hurt yourself and create a negative feeling about exercising because if you do you’ll be less likely to do it again. Always remember no matter your speed or distance you’re still going faster and further than the people sitting on the couch. Since beginning my life overhaul I’ve also had a diet overhaul. Which means more fruit and veggies, more water and less snacking. Not rocket science but what a difference it makes. I’ve also found a fabulous little resource for eating well for less. It’s called Good and Cheap- Eat for $4 a day by Leanne Brown. This book is also available as a free download and you can find it here. What have you got to lose?
Sort out your finances
While we are trimming the excess everywhere else it is time to cut the spending. I have recently discovered, to my horror, that the total of my excess spending would afford me my much coveted return trip to New York! So I have started with the basics. Cutting out the extra bills. Anything that I am paying for and not using that much is money I could be saving or putting into something else. Have a look at your finances and see is there any fat you could trim. Paying for a gym membership that you never use?- Use it or lose it, your TV plan costing too much? – contact your provider and see if there is a way of getting what you want for less and so on. Have you considered an extra form of income to supplement your current income? You could be a sales person from your own home, you could take on paid blog posts, taking online surveys- the world is your oyster. There is cash to be made- take advantage! And if you’re feeling particularly flush you could always contribute to the “Send Priscilla to New York” fund.
Set your Goals: What do you want?
It can be anything. All you have to do is set your goal and put a plan in place. Take for example my New York trip (have I mentioned I want to go to New York enough times yet?)
Goal Setting tool:
Goal: Trip to New York
When For my 30th -In two years time
What’s stopping you? What if I don’t have enough money? Where would I stay? What airline would I use? What if I don’t get to see everything I want to?
What do you need to do to make this goal happen? Put away a little every month into an account I can’t touch. Research where I would like to There you go. It’s as simple as that. You can use this little tool for anything stay. Research where I would like to visit and create an itinerary. Price flights and accommodation. Inform anyone who may want to come so that they have time to save too.
There you go. It’s as simple as that. You can use this little tool for anything. Inviting your friends around for dinner, finding a new job, sorting out your love life. There are solutions to every niggle all you have to do is put it to paper and commit to it. If something changes, amend it on your goal plan and carry on.
Make time work for you
I am extremely guilty of professing that I have no time to do anything. I’m very busy, going, doing working etc. Then I examined how I spend my time. A lot of it is bingeing on TV box sets, faffing on the internet, more faffing on social media, making lists, bitching and gossiping, fridge raiding. I could go on and on. Have a look at yourself are you guilty of these. We all have the same 24 hours it just depends on where you choose to put your priorities. Have you no time to clean but you are up to date on the soaps. See what I mean? I’m not saying throw the TV and the laptop out the window but maybe allocate yourself an amount of time to watch them or better again multi task. Do the ironing while you watch, do some stretches in the ad break. You’ll be amazed by how much you can achieve. This has been my journey so far and I’m just in the beginning stages of overhauling my life. I’m not perfect my plans don’t always work out and sometimes I slip or fall off the wagon. That’s not what’s important, what’s important is that I’m not sitting on my arse, watching life pass me by and being passive in my own existence. What changes will you make? Go forth, kick ass and make your life the one you want not the one you dream of!
We have great news for all of you Fe-liners who want to tell the world and other Fe-liners about your awesome business. We are looking for stall holders at the forthcoming Fe-line Frock Swap on Saturday 20th September. In the past we haven’t had space for stall holders at the Frock Swap events as the venue was too small, but now we have booked the lovely Old Museum in the town hall and that gives us a lot more scope for stalls and activities.
The event will take place from 12-4pm on the Saturday and will be free entry to the public, people will then pay £2 for the Frock Swap but if people don’t have clothes with them to swap they can just come in and look around and enjoy the other stuff we have going on for free. The other stuff will be a talk from stylist Katy Dyer about Autumn trends, a bar and pop-up café from The Wandering Kitchen and some lovely wonderful stalls.
That is where you come in, we are looking for four stallholders who would be interested in coming along and promoting their wares to between 100-150 Fe-line women. Fe-line women are ambitious, courageous and like to have fun. A stall will cost you £25 and we will only be taking one type of each trader.
If you are interested please email Team Fe-line and we will send you some more details.
We will be doing lots of events in the future too so if you can’t make this one, please sign up to our stall holders mailing list and we will be in touch next time we are looking for stalls.
Love, frock swapping and fab stalls,
Team Fe-line xxx
In May I wrote a piece about some of the exciting festivals going on in Oxfordshire this summer. There are some great events going on across the county and I have been lucky enough to be selected to do a number of them this year. I am super excited about setting up Kinship of Oxford at events including Cornbury, Truck and Wilderness. It should be a great opportunity to promote the business and reach new customers. However it is not as simple as just rocking up the day before with a selection of goods and a gazebo. I put a lot of thought and consideration into each Pop Up Shop, and festival pitches are no different. There are a lot more considerations such as a bigger stall size, stock holding and not to mention, the weather!
So where to start? Well here are my top tips to help you enjoy and succeed at festival trading:
- Stocking Up
When you get booked onto a festival, the first thing is to check your stock levels and put a plan together of what you would like to take and how many of each line you will need. To do this, I normally work out how much I need to take to cover the pitch plus any extra expenses such as food, equipment and of course to make a profit. Once you have come to a figure, think about the type of festival you are going to and the type of people that might attend it. I find that putting together a Pinterest board or Spotify playlist helps with this. For example at Wood Festival in May, I put together a big display of my Beefayre range as I knew that many of the festival goers would be passionate about the environment and Beefayre use recycled packaging, natural ingredients and give 3% of their profits to Bee Conservation.
It’s good to do this well in advance so that you can reorder any lines that you think will sell well or gives you time to make new designs or products. Use your top line figure to work out how many of each item you need to take to achieve your turnover goal. Remember that as you’re outside its good to leave behind any products that might get ruined by the elements! I tend not to bring any paper products or higher priced jewellery and accessories.
- Dress To Impress
As with all events it is important to plan you display. The Kinship stall for festivals is generally twice as big as events such as craft fairs so I plan how the tables will be arranged and what products go where, in advance of the festival. I also take a ‘Mary Poppins bag’ of useful things like bluetac, tape, scissors, pegs, ribbon, pens, safety pins and drawing pins so I can tie tablecloths and display pieces down. I also find a bag of pebbles (or other heavy items!) prove invaluable if the wind picks up!
Also, even though you’ve probably already spent a night in a tent, it’s important to look the part when you’re trading. Plan your outfits in advance so that you don’t let your stall down by looking a bit unkept.
- Check, Check, Check It Out
Remember to check that all the equipment you need is fully functional before the day of the festival, turning up with a broken gazebo is not what you need. Make a check list of everything from your tent and gazebo to wet wipes and dry shampoo.
While you want your stall to be a success, you also want to enjoy your time and have some fun! I learnt this the hard way at Truck Festival last year. It was absolutely boiling on the Friday and I didn’t drink enough water or have a break which meant I had heat stroke by the evening, not fun! So make sure you plan what food you are going to take or buy there, and take lots of water with you so you have some to hand. I now make sure I drink about 1litre an hour if it’s really hot, even if it does mean using the festival toilets more! Also make sure there are at least two of you on your stall so that you can at least have a lunch break.
- Safe & Sound
Security is key at festivals. Make sure that your cash box is in a secure location and preferably padlocked to something immoveable, or keep your money belt on you at all times. I also pack all my stock away at night and don’t take anything expensive (including personal items); items priced between £5-£20 tend to sell the best anyway.
I hope these are some useful points if you’re thinking of taking your business or craft on the road this summer or next!
Last but not least this is my list of must have festival items:
• Battery charger (especially if you take card payments via your phone)
• Wet wipes
• Dry Shampoo
• Camping chairs
• Cool box (for water and maybe a couple ciders!)
• Inflatable mattress & pump
• Hand sanitizer
• Sun cream
• Ear plugs
• Stove & pan