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 Clothes I hadn’t worn, makeup that was out of date, books that would never be read again-all gone.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
The Body Shop has always been a big presence in my life. When I was little, I remember my Mum always carefully rinsing out our shampoo bottles so she could take them in to be refilled (although sadly not by Anita Roddick herself as in the photo below!) and the green shelves of the local branch featured very largely in childhood shopping trips.
When I was a student, I became a Consultant with The Body Shop at Home to supplement my student loan. In the early noughties, I could be found demonstrating and selling their gorgeous products at parties all around Devon (and anywhere else I could persuade somebody to host one). This was a brilliant grounding in merchandising. I attribute my ability to put together a killer display in under ten minutes to it; I’d have to make my products look good in whoever’s living room I found myself, in whatever time I had available.
After I moved to Oxford, I got a job working in-store at the local branch of The Body Shop and I spent several months there working the tills, stocking the shelves, and giving makeovers and hand massages. It’s a company that I’m very proud to have worked with and still feel the need to discuss this at great length with any sales assistants when visiting The Body Shop (apologies to anybody reading this who has been subjected to said spiel).
Given the above it only feels right to dedicate one of my Fe-line posts to the lady behind The Body Shop, Anita Roddick.
Anita Roddick started The Body Shop in 1976 with the very simple aim of supporting her young family while her husband, Gordon, was away. “I had no training or experience and my only business acumen was Gordon’s advice to take sales of £300 a week.” I remember during my time with The Body Shop At Home hearing of how she would take a basket of products out after closing up and go door to door with them if she didn’t hit that target – a lesson for us in perseverance.
The idea of franchising came about fairly early on and it wasn’t long before there were branches of The Body Shop popping up internationally. As you won’t need me to tell you, she didn’t lose any of her principles with her newfound success. “One key area where my business and personal interests naturally combine is through The Body Shop community trade initiatives. It all started in 1989 when I attended the gathering at Altamira of Amazonian Indian tribes protesting against a hydro-electric project which would have flooded thousands of acres of rainforest, submerging native lands. There had to be something practical I could do to help these people preserve their environment and culture. Nuts? Specifically brazil nuts, which the Indians gathered sustainably from the forest and which when crushed produce a brilliant oil for moisturising and conditioning.”
The Body Shop brand is synonymous with being eco-friendly, from the refills my Mum used to take advantage of, to the campaigns run in conjunction with organisations such as Greenpeace. But The Body Shop also encouraged positive change closer to home debuting a self-esteem campaign in 1998 featuring the voluptuous Ruby – aka “The Anti-Barbie” – and a slogan I’ve never forgotten: “There are 3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels and only 8 who do.”
Alarmingly, this campaign met with opposition, The Body Shop received a “cease-and-desist” order from an American toy company asking them to remove the images from their American stores as it was making their best-seller, Barbie, look bad. Anita said that “the idea of one inanimate piece of moulded plastic hurting another’s feelings was absolutely mind-blowing.” And in Hong Kong, posters were banned from the Mass Transit Railway, despite them frequently sporting images of “silicone-enhanced blondes” on their trains.
To me, the cosmetics industry at large has the message of “you don’t look good enough, our products will help correct that”, whereas The Body Shop says “you’re beautiful, our products will help you shine even brighter”. This ethos of inclusiveness was brought about by Anita Roddick’s dislike of beauty industry attitudes, not only because she saw it as being “built on creating needs that don’t exist”, but “because it seems to have decided that it needs to make women unhappy about their appearances” – a very Fe-line viewpoint, no?
Sadly, in 2007, Anita Roddick revealed that she has Hepatitis C which she had contracted during a blood transfusion in the ‘70s. She became the patron of the Hepatitis C Trust and launched a campaign to raise awareness; but tragically passed away on 10th September 2007 at the age of just 64. There are a few tributes on The Body Shop’s website selected from the many thousands that poured in, but the below is my personal favourite from the Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana who supply The Body Shop with Community Trade cocoa butter:
“We are grateful to God that he gave us such an inspirational figure; a mother whose love for the development of the vulnerable and the under-privileged will continue to linger on in our minds till eternity. Anita would be well remembered by the Kuapa Kokoo family and the chiefs and people, for a school block she, together with The Body Shop, funded in the Bayerebon community. The seed she sowed is generating fruits of success and enlightenment.”
Fe-liners, I do not have enough space in this post to list all the amazing projects, campaigns, and charitable works that Anita Roddick undertook during her lifetime but I will just say this: she had been happily donating chunks of her sizable fortune to charity leading up to her death and it’s reported that she’d given away virtually all of it by the time she passed away. What an amazing lady.
Pampering and principles to you all,
“Photo by Rex Features (1350527r) Anita Roddick of the Body Shop” and “The Body Shop”
As soon as we enter a popular high street shop we are automatically bombarded with various trends and colours that make us feel incredibly nauseous. I absolutely adore when the seasons change and the shops completely revamp their rails, but I know that there are many women out there who have a totally opposite reaction to it. If that is one of you ladies, don’t panic just yet because after this post there’ll be only one trend on your mind: florals.
This summer is all about the brightly coloured, festival loving pattern that is known as Floral. Thankfully this trend suits any shape, size, skin colour, hair colour, and even gender (trust me, I’ve seen plenty guys wearing floral t-shirts these days!) One thing that’s brilliant about this trend is that it suits a large majority of women, no matter what. Usually when it comes to bold patterns like polka dots, stripes or even tribal print, many women find it hard to find an item of clothing in this pattern to suit them, yet with floral 90% of the clothing that’s covered in roses and daises suit all women. Another thing about this trend is that it is printed on a huuuuge array of clothing, whether it’s embellished onto party dresses, dyed onto t-shirts, or even embroidered onto denim shorts. If it can be worn, it can be floral, and thanks to famous bloggers like Chiara Ferragni and Kristina Bazan, every woman wants to (and should be) seen in floral.
In this post I’m going to break down the most popular ways that this gorgeous print can be worn, and hopefully after reading it, you’ll want to buy one of them almost immediately
- Just Leg it
Whether you’re a lover of cigarette pants, a skinny jean addict, an owner of a gazillion pair of tights or even if you’ve braved the new trend of palazzo pants, I can guarantee that you’ve found at least one type of these leg warming pieces in a floral pattern. I know sometimes that when you see jeans covered in pastel flowers or your work pants in a pretty petal pattern , that you tend to feel a bit daunted by the idea of your legs looking like you ran through Wonderland. However, I think that if you have a pair of statement floral printed pants, paired with a high collared shirt, or a plain lace top, along with subtle nude heels, you would certainly make any women envious of your bold, high fashion outfit.
- Dress it up
When embracing flower power you really can’t go past a gorgeous summer dress covered in daisies, peonies or hibiscus flowers. When the sun is beating down on our backs, there’s nothing cuter than seeing a girl dressed in a floral tea dress or flower covered maxi dress because it always seems to be the epitome of pretty. I myself absolutely love floral dresses, whether they’re short and summery, floor skimming and cool, or even calf length and flowy, I just adore how they make me feel incredibly girly, pretty and happy all in one. If you had the chance to feel like that, by just wearing a simple dress in a bold, bright, blossom pattern, how could you resist?
- To top it all off
T-shirts, shirts and blazers are the simplest, yet most effective way to wear this glorious print. Whether you’re roaming the supermarket aisles doing your grocery shopping, or walking through the park in search of a picnic spot, or even if you’re heading out on a date, floral printed tops can always make a simple outfit look a million pounds. It can be done in so many ways from the pairing of a simple short sleeve patterned tee along with denim shorts and gladiator sandals, or coordinating a plain fitted pencil skirt, with matching heels, and adding a floral chiffon shirt for a pop of colour. However my favourite way of wearing floral on top is a way that every single woman can pull off in a flash. All you need is a simple plain white tee, navy denim jeans (whichever shape suits you best) and any coloured ballet pumps, then for the injection of floral you just throw on a fitted, blooming beautiful, blazer. It’s the kind of outfit that can be used both day and night, no matter what the occasion.
- Fairy Fever
What girl could ever resist the chance to relive her childhood dream of becoming a fairy? I know that you’re probably laughing as you read this, but I can guarantee that you wouldn’t be able to resist if the opportunity arose. From festivals and beaches to races and weddings, flower headbands have become a huge craze and I think that they look absolutely adorable. When I first saw them on girls I was a bit on edge because I thought they’d make me look like a kid that’s trying to be a fairy, but the more I saw them on famous faces like Anne Hathaway, Poppy Delevingne or the stunning Keira Knightley, I fell hopelessly in love with the trend. I myself can’t seem to pull them off, but I know many women who make these headbands look like they’re Glastonbury royalty.
Overall there are endless possibilities when it comes to wearing floral this sunshine filled season, I’ve embraced it in various ways so why don’t you?
When it comes to floral print, I hope that all you beautiful women out there will take the chance and fall for this trend as hard as I did because I can guarantee when wearing either a floral printed tee or a flower embellished dress, you’ll have a huge smile on your face and you won’t be able to hide it.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. I can’t wait to hear all of your comments and opinions.
www.kayture.com (taken by her partner James Chardon)
My own style collage from http://redthreadsstyle.blogspot.ie/