Project Wonder Woman #10

WP 001940 Project Wonder Woman #10

Whenever everything is a bit rubbish, people give you the same advice. “It’ll get better with time.” “Just keep yourself busy.” And while it’s not always the most comforting thing to be told, it is true. This week, I’ve been enjoying the magical restorative powers of keeping busy, good friends and plenty of gin.

I wrote recently about allowing yourself to feel bad, and not saying you’re ok when you’re really not. Wallowing absolutely has it’s place. BUT, honestly, I think surrounding yourself with people you love and who love you, is the best cure for the blues. Last weekend, I gathered up my favourite people, mashing together groups from my old job, old school friends and randoms we’ve picked up along the way, for an epic house-warming. Something clicked into place a bit, I think, having all those lovely people around. People who knew me before I was part of that relationship, people who reminded me of the person I was before. And let’s be honest. It’s always nice having somebody reminding you that. break-up or not, you’re actually pretty awesome.

The busy times have kept up this week with various outings, more gin, and more lovely people. It seems to be the magic combination. I feel much, much better this week than I have in a long time. There’s a way to go yet, and I know there’ll still be some downs ahead, but honestly? I feel like everything is looking up.

More plans with all those magic lovely people who fix everything in the works, for sure.

Friday Round Up

Links, loves and lomograms from the last week.

mosaic8554fa649988d8f4cb6cf1d26c14275cc946ee2e e1410511056790 Friday Round Up

1. Cheeky Desperados
2. Love the colours in this street art piece
3. More street art by work
4.WHITE CHOCOLATE REESE’S CUPS
5. Five Guys time
6. Gin cocktails. In teacups. Yes.

Happy Friday! I’m feeling pretty cheerful today; it’s been a good week. The gang all stayed last weekend for a thorough warming of my new flat. We covered the floor in air beds, drank a lot of gin and general good times were had. It was a brilliant week, and the new place is properly warm now. I’m actually starting to feel like I live there too, which is always good.

Last night, the lovely Penny of Rats As Big As Cats came for a visit. She’s often adventuring around the country for work, and a Birmingham based day of networking meant I got a visit. We took ourselves for enormous burgers at Five Guys which opened recently in the Bullring. Now, Five Guys is one of those places you’re obliged to go as a blogger. I was quite excited about it (mostly for the crazy coke machine). I went for a cheeseburger with all the toppings, and Cherry Vanilla coke. The burger was good, but I don’t think worth the rave reviews Five Guys tends to get. I did enjoy the coke machine though. I want to go back for more crazy flavours.

Suitably full of burger, we set off for Jekyll and Hyde, a gin bar in Birmingham. Cocktails in teacups, and the most mind-boggling array of gins I’ve ever seen. We tried four different gins, all with different garnishes and tonics and bitters. All awesome. I would like to live in Jekyll and Hyde, please.

This week on the internet, I’ve been reading:
Authenticity comes in all shapes.
Prostate Cancer Foundation does not want Reddit’s money.
The problem with casual cruelty towards women in video games.
These videos games are horribly sexist, but the attacks on the woman who critiqued them are worse.

Blogger Or Blagger? Mediaworks, Bloggers and #PRrequest

WP 001936 Blogger Or Blagger? Mediaworks, Bloggers and #PRrequest

There’s unrest brewing in the blogosphere. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware that as blogging has grown it’s become more and more commercial. Lots of bloggers, myself included, make money from their blogs, by accepting sponsored content, advertising or reviews from brand and PR agencies. For some bloggers, this just means balancing the paid content and gifted items amongst their regular programming and everyone’s happy. For others, the shift moves too far the other way. A lot of bloggers have been talking recently about being fed up of seeing outfit posts where everything is gifted, sudden random posts about car insurance from your favourite fashion blogger, or blogs that have ‘sold out’. However, recently, I think things have got a little nasty.

Bloggers and PRs often find each other by using the Twitter tag #prrequest. It’s a way for PRs to shout out what they’re looking for or advertise projects they’re working on, and for bloggers to put out requests for items for giveaways, round-ups posts, gift guides, or just to make it clear they’re PR friendly. For most of us, the tag is a helpful way to find PRs or brands who want to work with us. Now, as with anything, there’s always going to be a few who mistreat it. And I don’t deny that there are bloggers who take the piss, asking for all kinds of stupid things. However, I don’t think it’s a giant disaster. You don’t want to give that blogger something? Just keep scrolling. There are plenty of tweets asking for something you can’t give, so treat the begging tweets just the same and ignore them.

Some people seem to think ignoring them is impossible. A new Twitter account, @buyityourself, has taken upon itself to shame bloggers using the #prrequest in a cheeky way, by retweeting the offending requests. Unfortunately, what they’re actually doing is retweeting a few people who, at least I think, are using the tag perfectly correctly. There’s a mummy blogger looking for reviews for Christmas products, a lifestyle blogger interested in reviewing running shoes…actually there are only three tweets at the time of writing that actually retweet anyone using the tag. Everything else is retweets of compliments, comments about ‘begging’ bloggers, and retweets, somewhat suspiciously, of an article from Mediaworks.

If you’re not familiar with Mediaworks, they work with a variety of clients, setting them up with bloggers for sponsored content and reviews. I’ve actually worked with them several times myself, mostly with their fashion clients. There are rumblings that they are behind the @buyityourself account. They firmly deny this, but there are bloggers who question the coincidence of them choosing to write an article about best practice with #prrequest and using it to link to this account as soon as it appeared. Buyityourself’s account is half tweets about this article. Whether they are behind it or not, I find their response very odd. Presumably, they find a lot of their bloggers through this tag. So why are they slamming usage which appears to be perfectly legit? The article in question, in my opinion, fails to make any valid point, instead turning into a whine about how long it takes to find suitable bloggers. They’ve taken to tweeting this article to bloggers who use #prrequest, a move which many bloggers have found very upsetting. It strikes me as very passive aggressive. It seems a bizarre move. Bloggers talk. Why alienate a huge proportion of them? It’s a real shame. I’ve worked them multiple times, but after this, I certainly won’t be again. I don’t wish to work for a company who have encouraged a lot of nastiness and bullying. I’m sure I’m not the only blogger backing sharply away from Mediaworks.

Blogging is an industry still in it’s infancy, which means there’s a lot of kinks to be ironed out. What is best practice when it comes to brand work and approaching PRs? There are undeniably bloggers out there getting it wrong, but there’s also plenty of PRs getting it very wrong too (not the lack of Twitter account to shame them…), encouraging bloggers into using shady practices, or simply expecting the world in return for no payment. If I work with a brand or a PR, I expect to be paid. I am providing a service. I’ve taken the time to take and edit pictures, gather links for a round-up post, test a product, write a post, push a post across social media and give access to my readership. My time and my readers are not free, and nor should they be. I also expect to be able to reach out to brands and PRs to create positive working relationships, that work for my blog and my readers. I don’t expect the pay back to be snarky tweets from a PR agency or inclusion in a spammy, bullying Twitter account.

What do you think? Has #prrequest been taken over by blaggers rather than bloggers? Are Mediaworks making a very odd move?

Friday Round Up – Bumper Edition

Links, loves and lomograms from the last….something…number of weeks. Sorry, I moved house, life got mad there.

mosaicf788c408bd2d24dc728e1f61baf29840b803284f 1024x769 Friday Round Up   Bumper Edition

1. If there’s something that makes no sense going on at The Custard Factory, it’s probably The Gadget Show filming.
2. Christmas trees ready for inspection…already.
3. New Shoes!
4. Cardiff Bay
5.  Yarn bombing in Cardiff Bay
6. Fountains at work are finally working again!
7. This bus is NOT SORRY!
8. Amazing new street art going up for City Of Colours Festival.
9. Watching Lee Evans from Heineken’s executive box at Capital FM Arena in Nottingham. #workperks
10. Street Art beginnings
11. Cherry picker back out for that amazing piece
12. More City Of Colours work in progress.

I really have no idea when I last updated you all on life, other than moving, so let’s just skip the middle bit and jump to the most recent. As of Tuesday I am now back online, after two BT engineers spent four hours trying to figure out the mad flats I live in. Internet, I bloody missed you. I am back to my evenings on double-screening, with blogs on the laptop and Angel in the DVD player. Bliss. While we’re on TV topics; yes to the new Doctor. Loving Capaldi so far. Also, look away now if you don’t want Great British Bake Off spoilers. Bincident. WHAT WAS THAT? Poor Iain. I’d have thrown a tantrum too, I think, if I was him.

In others life happenings, I had a somewhat unexpected adventure last night. The lovely team at Alfie Bird’s invited me along to join them in being spoilt by their Heineken rep. Ten minutes after the invite, I was in a taxi to Nottingham. Heineken treated us to a heaving table of food (so. many. chicken. wings) at Hooters, which was an entirely surreal experience. I was somewhat disturbed by the amount of young kids in there; I don’t get the Hooters as a family eaterie thing at all. WEIRD. Less weird and way more awesome was watching Lee Evans from Heineken’s executive box. I’m a little delicate today, but the show was fantastic. One low-point for me though, which kind of puts me off Lee Evans a bit, was his choice to tell a domestic violence joke. I’ve seen Lee Evans a few times now, and always really enjoyed his comedy, so was quite shocked and disappointed when he made a series of jokes about his wife’s ability to take a punch. It gave me a bit of a jolt; I really, really hate jokes like that. Not funny.

I’ve got a selection of lunatics I call mates staying this weekend, and as is usual with that lot, I have no real idea of who is arriving when. I guess we’ll see who turns up on the doorstep later.

Despite my lack of internet, I’ve still managed to bookmark some links.
Views for the top 100 YouTube channels have grown 80% in a year.
Writing around a day job.
Things Robin Williams taught us about laughter and life.
How to support your favourite blogs.
There’s nothing selfish about suicide.
15 small changes that can make a big difference to your health.
Game of Thrones train map.
Should brands pay bloggers for reviews?

Wednesday Wishlist – Joules

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All words, thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and entirely honest. If you’d like to know more about my disclosure policy, you can read about it here.

I love Joules. Their shops are always so…cheerful. Bright colours, pretty patterns, and generally cheery. Yes please. You might remember a while back I was lucky enough to be a Joules VIB and went along to check out the beautiful new flagship store in Bath. They must know I love them dearly, because they asked me to have a good old nosey round the website and share some of my favourite items with you guys. So here we go!

c600x411 Wednesday Wishlist   Joules

 

Joules really are masters of the tunic, and make pretty, easy to wear tunics that I am very tempted by. I think this one would be perfect for lazy weekend dressing with some leggings. No effort, but you look put together. Like I said, Joules are good at pattern. Florals, animals, classic tartan…they cover it all, and do it well, like this horse print shirt and these perfect for Autumn skirt.

They’re a great place to find good quality coats and jackets too. Joules get the balance just right between practical jackets that are actually warm and hard-wearing, while still being stylish. Not an easy thing to do.

I’m a big fan of Joules’ homeware, and as usual, I’m loving the stuff for the kitchen. Gorgeousness. I need those cake tins.

Birmingham Architecture Tour – Goodman Meet Up

On Sunday, myself and a pack of other Birmingham bloggers were invited out for a pretty cool event. Goodman Business Parks sent us off on a mission to photograph some of Birmingham’s best architecture. The lovely Simon from Iguana Photography took us on a tour around the city, teaching us some tips and tricks to get the most out of our cameras.

It’s going to be a picture heavy one folks, so buckle up and stretch those scrolling fingers!

Birmingham Town Hall Birmingham Architecture Tour    Goodman Meet Up

Our first stop was Birmingham Town Hall, where Simon taught us some basics of setting up a shot. He asked us to think about what striking features we noticed about the building and how we’d transfer them to a photograph. Getting down from the building like this highlights it’s size and status, and getting right in the centre of it shows that it’s symmetrical (apart from the tree in the way…). I was still working on auto mode at this point, but we started messing about with the manual settings pretty soon.

Birmingham Library Birmingham Architecture Tour    Goodman Meet Up

Next stop was Birmingham Library. At this point I was messing about with the shutter speed, but hadn’t figured out to change much else. With only half my manual settings being swapped, I couldn’t get the best shots, but I was starting to understand what I was trying to do. The white buildings are over exposed because they aren’t the focus. Your camera can’t have the right exposure for everything. If the white buildings were white, the library, which is what we’re focussing on, would be too dark and you’d lose the detail of the circles on it. You can balance the levels out later with Photoshop, if needs be. Interesting stuff.

Jamies Italian Menu Birmingham Architecture Tour    Goodman Meet Up

We took a pause for lunch and headed off to Jamie’s Italian. Simon encouraged us to take pictures of everything, talking us through how to work the manual settings as we went. What he was talking about finally began to make sense for me. This is the first picture I’ve ever taken entirely on manual. Everybody settled down to take pictures of menus, glasses and each other, in between a batch of tweeting and instagramming.

Bloggers At Lunch Birmingham Architecture Tour    Goodman Meet Up

This, by the way, is what happens when you go anyway with bloggers en masse. Giant cameras all over the table, and everybody busy on their various Social Media addictions. Pretty sure bloggers are the only people are entirely unbothered by this sort of behaviour.

Jamies Italian Risotto Birmingham Architecture Tour    Goodman Meet Up

I went for a Risotto from the specials list, cooked with a lot of beetroot (hence the super pink rice) and salmon, and some sort of white fish I have forgotten. It was beautiful; creamy with huge chunks of fish, and a dash of pepper for some kick. Serious yum.

Bellies full, we were off again. This time, it was to the iconic Selfridge’s building.

Hannah Birmingham Architecture Tour    Goodman Meet Up

Here’s Hannah from A New Addition clearly having a lovely time playing with her camera.

Birmingham Selfridges Birmingham Architecture Tour    Goodman Meet Up

Selfridge’s is surprisingly tricky to photograph. The silver discs bounce the light around a lot, and snapping it without getting in the not so pretty balcony and surroundings is awkward. When you get a good shot though? Satisfying!

Birmingham Selfridges Reflections Birmingham Architecture Tour    Goodman Meet Up

Mirror Selfie Birmingham Architecture Tour    Goodman Meet Up

Hat: H&M, Dress: H&M, Shirt: Primark, Boots: New Look, Coat: H&M, Bag (just seen): Accessorize

I got caught up playing with the mirrored surface at the bottom of Selfridge’s. At first, I started arty, playing with angles to create a cool play between clouds, silver discs and the same clouds reflected. In true blogger form though, I soon slipped into selfies.

Rotunda Birmingham Architecture Tour    Goodman Meet Up

Last stop was the centre of the Bullring, up by the Bull. Simon set us loose to photograph whatever we liked. This was the most challenging ask of the day. The centre was really busy and choosing a shot without getting half the shoppers in it was tricky. I got right under the Rotunda and tried to practice getting the sense of scale into a picture.

I learnt HEAPS from Simon (he was a cracking laugh too), and I’ll definitely be getting my practice in to keep working on the new skills I learnt on the day. Thanks for the invite Goodman. It was brilliant.

If you’d like to read more about the day, you can check out the #goodmanmeetup tag on Twitter and Instagram, or you can read Goodman’s blog about the day.

Blogging Through Bad Times

Cardiff Bay Blogging Through Bad Times

Has anyone else ever noticed that the blogosphere seems to have good and bad times together? Someone starts it, and there’ll be a sudden flurry of bloggers announcing engagements, weddings, new jobs or glamorous trips. On the other side, the bad stuff seems to happen in groups too. I don’t know what it is, but lately, there seem to be a lot of bloggers I follow navigating the nastiness of break-ups, divorces and loss in the family. How you maintain your blog through the bad times is a difficult question.

By it’s nature, blogging can be very personal. We share a lot of ourselves out there in the internet, but there’s a lot of difficulty to sharing quite so much when we’re not writing about happy things. Some bloggers maintain a policy of silence on the bad times, while others are baring their souls. For most of us, there’s a balance in the middle. We acknowledge the bad thing happened without dwelling. I think there’s a fear of being perceived as someone wailing about their bad luck in a public way, and alienating a readership who come to you for tales of shopping, silliness and sales bargains.

But sometimes, there is a comfort in reading from someone else that you are not alone in feeling like absolute hell. It takes the pressure off ‘being ok’ to know someone else is in the same boat. And frankly, maintaining a bright front, online and in life, is bloody tiring.

I’m reaching the stage now where people are starting to gently tell me I need to ‘move on’ (as though this is something I don’t know), and ‘let go’, or maybe ‘start over’. I have started to reach the time limit allowed for wallowing in self pity and ice cream and should be in the far more fun for other people stage of dancing to ‘Single Ladies’, dramatic hair cuts and partying. Trouble is, I am not done with the god-awful, gut-wrenching, feeling like you might die of the pain stage. I am too tired to maintain the outward, “It’s hard, but I’m doing ok and getting through it” mask.

I am not doing just fine. I haven’t slept through the whole night for weeks. I’m tired. I’ve had to move from a flat I loved and was expecting to live in for a long time, to one I am actually pretty indifferent about, no matter how many people tell me it’s ‘much nicer really’. No. It isn’t. It’s small, and dark and it just isn’t home. I am fed up of people who think that the best way to make me feel better is to list Tom’s faults if they know him, or if they don’t, resort to standard, “Well, he’s a prick, anyway.” Actually, no he isn’t. He’s lost and hurting too. I don’t want to hear what an arsehole you think he is, because when I do it makes me want to sob hysterically, or possibly punch you in the nose. It’s not true, and it hurts to you horrible things about somebody who, if stupidly and pointlessly, you still love very much. It’s also pretty agonizing when somebody casually tells you, when you’re telling them you’re actually really struggling, that they always thought you were very incompatible anyway. Right, thank you, that’s very helpful of you and not at all like twisting the knife when it already hurts enough.

Instead of getting better, I feel worse now than I have at any point of this break-up. This is the longest we have ever gone without speaking, and it’s killing me. I haven’t just lost my boyfriend. I’ve lost the pretty amazing team we made, my best friend, the person I trusted most, had the most fun with, who made me laugh like nobody else can. I’ve lost my home. I’ve lost what seemed like a bright future, with a solid partnership. I’ve lost all those future plans that made me happy to have, even while it was hard with him away working. Relationships are made in the small moments that make you happier than you thought something so trivial could. He might have been a nightmare for stealing my socks and leaving the fridge open, but I’ve lost those small things. All our inside jokes, and the tiny silly things he probably never knew mattered to me, are lost.

On Saturday, I went back to our flat for the last time. It was empty and all wrong. Locking the door for the last time and walking away was the hardest thing I’ve had to do so far. I can’t bear the thought that we will never be there again.

It’s incredibly hard. I miss him desperately and I am not ready to be ‘moving on’ yet. A break-up is very like grieving, and cannot be gone through on someone else’s timeline.

I am incredibly grateful for my amazing friends who doing their best to look after me. Sorry this one turned into such a novel. If there is one other person out there who feels the same way, and needed the permission to answer honestly when someone asks how you’re feeling, I’ll be glad I wrote it. You don’t always have to say ‘fine’.

Liebster Award

LiebsterAward e1408960085705 Liebster AwardI’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award by the lovely Emily from Pumpkin Emily Smiles.

THE RULES ARE:

1. Post 11 facts about you.
2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger who nominated you.
3. Nominate 11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers. I’ve gone by followers on BlogLovin’
3. Link your nominees to this post.
4. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
5. Let your nominees know that they have been tagged.
11 FACTS ABOUT MYSELF
  1. The block of flats I live in were originally a bakery. At some point, there were offices for an events company, with an antiques shop underneath. Now they’re flats, and mine is the old conference room! 
  2. The first time I went abroad was on a Hockey Tour with school. We went to Holland and are a lot of pancakes.
  3. I’m a dork for all things Joss Whedon. My favourites of his characters are Oz and Spike from Buffy, and Kaylee from Firefly.
  4. One of my most treasured possessions is an original Paddington Bear toy, that belonged to my Gran.
  5. I once said I wouldn’t be a grown-up until I liked Gin with Tonic, instead of always having it with Lemonade. I learnt to like Tonic a few months ago. Guess I’m a grown-up then…
  6. I’m mad for any chocolate that involves Peanut Butter. Reece’s Cups, KitKat Peanut Butter Chunky…gimme.
  7. Despite my favourite superhero being Wonder Woman, I’m actually more of a fan of Marvel than DC.
  8. My favourite books are The Secret History by Donna Tartt and I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith.
  9. I cannot watch film adaptations of books I love if I think the casting isn’t right.
  10. I worked for Apple for about a year, but I have never owned a single Apple product.
  11. I am embarrassingly excited that The Sims 4 is due out soon.

 EMILY’S QUESTIONS

1. What’s your favorite thing to do?
Write or blog, with a big cup of tea to help me along.
2. What’s your favorite song?
Argh, tough question. I’ll have to give a shortlist. Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen, Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley, or Hysteria by Muse.
3. Who’s your favorite band or singer?
Muse
4. If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?
I couldn’t possibly pick just one.
5. What’s your favorite food?
Pad Thai!
6. What is the name of your favorite blog?
Just one? Oh God…probably Rosalilium.
7. What’s your favorite animal?
Cats.
8. Do you have any pets? If you don’t what animal would you like as a pet?
No pets, but as soon as I can have pets, I’m getting cats.
9. What’s your favorite color?
Red
10. What are three words that describe you?
Stubborn, independent, daft
11. If you could take a picture of anything in the world, who or what would it be?
Not so much in order to have a picture of them, but more as a record of visiting them, I’d love to have photographs of famous landmarks I’ve not visited yet, like the pyramids or the Statue of Liberty.
MY QUESTIONS
  1. What made you start blogging?
  2. Tea or coffee?
  3. Who’s your hero?
  4. What’s your signature dish?
  5. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  6. What are your favourite blog posts to write?
  7. What are your favourite blog posts to read?
  8. Are you ‘out’ as a blogger in your ‘real life’?
  9. Do you know any bloggers in real life?
  10. What blogger haven’t you met that you’d like to?
  11. Who’s your favourite blogger and why?

MY NOMINATIONS

  1. Rats as Big as Cats.
  2. Owl Girl.
  3. Nomad Seeks Home.
  4. A New Addition.
  5. Average Chap.
  6. Fork and Good.
  7. Emma Victoria Stokes.
  8. Lojo Vs The World.
  9. Oh Gosh.
  10. Emily-Jayne.
  11. A Sensible Heart.

 

Do What You Love – Glug Midlands Masters

Birmingham sunrise Do What You Love   Glug Midlands Masters

On Thursday night, I went to along to the Glug Midlands Masters event at Fazeley Studios. Glug is an event for creatives, based around a series of talks and informal networking. They’ve been running successful events in London for a while now, and have now expanded to eight cities around the world, including Birmingham.

I went along to Glug Midlands Masters as part of work, without much thought about blogging about it afterwards. In my experience, networking events are generally much of a muchness. Glug, however, was actually really great, and a couple of the talks really inspired me to think about what I want to do, and I thought I’d share some of the best things I brought away with me.

There were 6 talks in total, with two that really stood out for me. The first of those was Matt Nation from Provide. Provide is based at The Custard Factory, so obviously I was already familiar with Matt and his shop. What I didn’t know was the story of how the shop came to be. Matt talked about his early plans to run a large site for designers and creatives to create clothing in a series of small studios, which would then be sold through a central shop. Matt is passionate about fashion and branding, but is not a fan of the large scale fashion houses and the soulless side of the industry. Lacking the huge budget needed to create the space he dreamed of, he looked for other ways to do the work he wanted. Provide was born and the rest is history. What really resonated with me in Matt’s talk were his final takeaways. Matt advises that you ask yourself two questions. What do I love? Am I doing it? When you know what you love, if the answer to the second question is ‘no’, do something about it! Even if it’s only a small side project, doing what you love majorly enhances your life and if you’re passionate, you’ll be happy to pour in the hours, the effort and the work needed to make your dream happen. He also talked about holding a bigger dream, while starting small. Matt still wants to run that giant complex where creatives can work, but to get there, he has to start at the beginning and work up. He’s working towards the bigger dream, but enjoying the journey along the way, which I think is something we should all be doing. It’s easy to focus on the bigger thing you want and feel frustrated that you aren’t there yet, but the work to get there is part of the fun really. Matt also talked about keeping the bigger picture in mind. There will be times when the work feels like a lot of effort, but it’s all part of making ‘doing what you love’ happen. Remembering that helps keep monotony at bay.

The other talk I really connected with was by Dan Button from Hero Of Switzerland. Hero Of Switzerland is an illustration company, which isn’t especially relevant to me (although their work is pretty bloody cool if that is your bag), but Dan was a cracking speaker. He talked about the importance of having a creative outlet to keep you going, even if your day job is rather uninspiring. Hero of Switzerland was founded by Dan and some friends when they were all working shitty cubicle jobs and feeling somewhat crap about it. Feeling somewhat uninspired and wanting something to push them to create, they began having regular meet-ups to draw. The company grew, and now has a larger group of artists beavering away on the team. Amazingly though, it’s still a hobby project. The team all have ‘proper jobs’ elsewhere to pay the bills. Starting your own business as a creative is hard work. What Dan and his gang are doing is great. They’re still working, although away from the cubicles and in industries they love now, but having Hero Of Switzerland allows them to have that immensely important ‘hobby’ outlet for doing something creative. For bloggers, who often are working in some other industry in their day job, that makes sense to me. Lots of us do this for exactly that reason. We need somewhere to do something ‘creative’, to express interests we can’t perhaps make into our careers just yet.

If you’re Midlands based, definitely keep your eye out for future Glug Midlands Masters events in Birmingham. There are two more sessions of Midlands Masters coming up in the next few months. Who knows what inspiration you’ll take away.

Vintage Shopping in Bath

Bath is known for it’s fantastic vintage scene. When I lived there, I was always lusting over beautiful vintage gear from the various markets and shops that spring up all over the city. If you’re a visitor, it can be a bit overwhelming knowing where to start. Here’s my guide to the best vintage shopping in Bath.

Yellow Shop
Yellow Shop Bath e1408612642705 Vintage Shopping in Bath

I used to work just up the road from Yellow Shop on Walcot Street and it was an endless source of temptation. The front of the shop is mostly new clothing, with some cute vintage inspired and repro gear if that’s your thing. Head to the back for the actual vintage. The rails are rammed full, with a particularly large stock of vintage sports jackets and some brilliant bags and footwear too. I always found Yellow Shop much more reasonably priced some of Bath’s other vintage offerings. If you visit on a Saturday, walk a little way down the road, towards Waitrose, and you”ll find an excellent little market, where you can find records, crockery and vintage clothing.

Scarlet Vintage
Scarlet Vintage Bath e1408613086648 Vintage Shopping in Bath

Scarlet Vintage has a totally different feel to Yellow Shop. The shop is small, tucked away on Queen Street (by the rather excellent Magpie pub, and a gin bar, so while you’re there…) and has a very chic, boutique feel. The shop is always immaculate, with carefully selected vintage items from a range of eras arranged by colour inside. Their stock is always very high quality, no cheap tat here! Friendly, knowledgeable staff, and reasonably priced when you take into account the quality.

Vintage To Vogue
Vintage to Vogue Bath 880x1024 Vintage Shopping in Bath

Vintage to Vogue wasn’t a regular haunt for me, as it’s more expensive than other Vintage offerings, but it’s definitely worth a visit. The shop is just off Milsom Street, and is a bit of TARDIS when you get inside. From a small alleyway entrance, you get into a pretty big shop, stocked with a variety of eras. Vintage To Vogue has a very good men’s selection, which can be trickier to find in Bath. They also have a massive range of accessories and is the best spot to visit if you’re looking for vintage hats or gloves.

Bath Vintage and Antiques Market
Bath Vintage and Antiques Market e1408613753518 Vintage Shopping in Bath

Bath Vintage and Antiques Market was always my favourite place to shop vintage. The market is held the first and last Sunday of the month in Green Park Station, an old Victorian train station. Green Park hosts different markets throughout the month, which are all worth a visit, but Vintage and Antiques is the best one. Furniture, clothing, homeware, records, jewellery, you name it, someone is selling it. Prices vary across the stalls, but it’s rarely unreasonable. Most of my collection of vintage teacups came from various stalls here. I miss this market a lot, actually. Excellent for a Sunday potter.

Grace & Ted
grace and ted bath e1408614098672 Vintage Shopping in Bath

Previously The Frock Exchange, Grace & Ted is an excellent designer resale store. Located on Kingsmead Square, amongst some of the best cafes in Bath, Grace & Ted stock pre-owned designer fashion for men and women. Run by a mother and daughter team, the shop has been a dress agency for 25 years, making it something of a Bath staple. With stock covering Chanel, Mulberry, Prada, and many more, you’re bound to find a gem in here! Great range of shoes too…

Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms
Beas Vintage Tea Rooms e1408614452662 Vintage Shopping in Bath

Now, clearly Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms is not a place for vintage shopping.  However, trust me when I say Bea’s is a must visit for any self-respecting Vintage fan. The Tea Rooms, on Saville Row, are beautiful, decorated in authentic 1930s/1940s style. Every detail is perfect, with music of the time, beautiful mismatched china, and waitresses in landgirl bandannas and red lipstick. The food is gorgeous too. All freshly prepared homemade fare, the tearooms serve breakfasts, lunch options including soups, pies and sandwiches, and they keep the patisserie cabinet heaving with incredible cake. They also serve the best Afternoon Tea in town. I’m obsessed with this place, and anyone who came to visit me in Bath was usually taken here.

Charity Shopping
Again, not strictly vintage, but worth a mention. If you’re a thrifty sort, Bath’s charity shops are excellent. Because Bath is a very affluent place, you can grab some fantastic brands if you dig into the racks in most of the charity shops. I picked up some great designer bits for pennies in the Save The Children shop near my old work. Always worth an explore; you never know what you might find.