Monday 28 December 2015

Weekly wisdom #14

We find ourselves in a culture of avid multitaskers; a society in which getting sh*t done at the most rapid rate – while simultaneously working on other life admin – is lauded and applauded.  Whether or not the age-old adage of females outperforming males in this department rings true for you, in my mind we all do ourselves, and indeed the task(s) at hand, a disservice by mindlessly breezing through the tick boxes on our to-do lists. Above all amidst incessant email pings and non-stop notifications, it's no mean feat getting immersed in a single task without the threat of distractions and intrusions. 

I'm far from being a pro at prioritisation, but in practicing the art of cutting back and simplifying what really needs to get done, i.e. establishing what's truly important in any given moment, I'm injecting somuchmore focus into my work 'n' life flow. In turn, this – I reckon – allows me to properly get stuck into assignments, ultimately granting an increased quality of execution too.  

That being said, it's not to say there won't be occasions where this kinda multitasking mindset is unavoidable or necessary. But, but, but: Taking a more mindful, conscious approach and prioritising our daily duties as much as we can will certainly aid our overall productivity, as well as clearing up some headspace in our often cluttered craniums. 

// You can do anything, but not everything (at the same time). //

Sunday 13 December 2015

Do it yas(elf): Christmas gifts

This festive season, I've made a pledge to myself. Intent on imbuing a little extra love into everything I do (even the most mundane of tasks), I'm aiming to handcraft the majority of gifts for my nearest 'n' dearest. 

Whatever time of year it may be – I don't believe these kinds of gestures oughta be limited to allocated calendar boxes – the act of giving sweet, petite tokens to those I know best has always been preferable to being bestowed with presents myself. Not that they go without gratitude, of course, but I just happen to take way more pleasure in the process of gifting others with well-thought-out momentos and (hopefully) seeing them appreciated too.

Above: It's Brogues "no bad days" bags, filled with cheer-me-up quotes + inspiration. 

 That being said, carving out the time to create is in itself a bit of a s(elf)ish act; making things – usually without purpose – is my ultimate mode of relaxation and "me" time. So the fact that this personal Christmas commitment actually bears some kinda altruistic motive is just an added bonus! 

There's also the additional price perk, since the dominant expenditure is time. Stocking up on basic materials – namely canvas bags, paperwares, pens, pretty tape and unnecessary-but-cute items like heart-shaped hole punches – indeed requires initial investment, but the amount of £/€/$ spent really is minimal compared to the crazed consumerism so characteristic of the festive season.   

Of course, part and parcel (ha) of a gift, handmade or not, is also the presentation. I like to take a bit of a holistic approach to my gift givin'; although a quaint idea not to judge a present by its wrapping, it's equally charming to give the gift-wrap a little TLC too. All in all, this – I hope – makes for a one-of-a-kind, highly personal bundle of Christmas contributions that sprinkle some cheer and stand the test of time (at least more so than those novelty socks/multiple body washes/chocolate selection boxes).

Wednesday 11 November 2015

A visual diary: Salpal + Siblet pay a visit

Full time independence and expat livin' comes with all kindsa perks, but there's no doubt about it: a good dose of your "people" and some R&R every now and then are very much required. While having a super-tight-knit triangle of a family unit is a total blessing (and one which I'm very grateful for), being away from the ol' homeland is a little trickier when you'd – in an ideal world – be spending far more time hanging out with yo' nearest and dearest. 

Not that this makes me wanna rush back to LDN just yet (not at all in fact), but there are times when having the best of both worlds would be just swell. Ever the idealist. Needless to say, when my favourite ladies came to town the other week, it gave me a much needed boost; a chance to spend some proper, quality time together and recharge my batteries after a mad few months to say the least. 
For a spot of context, see here 'n' here

After a few darlin' days hanging as a three, Salpal headed back to her working world, leaving the much missed sis and I to get up to our old antics as a lil duo. After over 4 months without my best gal, it was all the more lovely to just chill in each other's company. Indeed, a short but sweet week was all it took to get me fully feeling myself again: I've been on a fam-induced high ever since. 

Sunday 1 November 2015

Weekly wisdom #12

In (one of) his neat book(s) on creativity, Steal Like An Artist, Austin Kleon cites his favourite cartoonist Lynda Barry: "In the digital age, don't forget to use your digits!" Yeah, our fingers taptaptap away all day on our various devices, but the actual physicality of using our hands and feeling things with all our senses needn't – mustn't – be neglected.

Unlike the 2D, static nature of screen-based doings, a hands-on approach quite literally engages the body (and brain) in a way more dynamic style. In turn, this analogue process gives birth to ideas, processes and results that – in my experience – simply don't crop up when I'm staring into a digital display. 

Don't get me wrong: tools 2.0 are enabling in all kindsa ways. It's the digital dependence that's inhibiting. And the two don't have to be mutually exclusive! Take this little online journal: when drafting up a post, all the idea generation and lettering gets done on paper. Then I digitise it, having sketched it all out IRL. I say this not to be all self-righteous, but because it's genuinely what keeps me clear-headed, cultivates creativity and prevents constant self-editing – which ain't what this space is all about. 

Sunday 18 October 2015

Free fallin'

I won't lie to ya: the abrupt temperature drop and increased hours of darkness haven't exactly been making me spring out of bed in the morning of late. But! Beyond the not-so-celebratory facets of fall, the year's autumnal chapter always bears a tangible twinkle; a certain magic that oughta be appreciated.

That quaint little feeling is all the more perceptible on those particularly crisp, clear sky days – a type entirely epitomised last Sunday in Berl. Swaddled in fresh air and good wholesome energy (supplied by the loveliest of humans), I don't think there could've been a more fitting way to leave the summer spell behind and embrace this sweet season of transition. 

Though technically a "work" day for me – I had flatteringly been asked to shoot a beautiful autumn collection by Berlin-based line Sugar and Snow – it felt anything but taxing. Rather, the agenda was far more based around spending quality time with likeminded souls, dividing our hours between Anna Lina's toasty warm, Pinterest-worthy apartment (complete with gorgeous home baked treats) and the pretty-as-a-picture Humboldthain park. Work wha? 

Amidst a screen-centric lifestyle, consciously making space in my schedule for quality "real world" moments, authentic conversations and taking a slower paced stance are at the forefront of my mind right now. And as we enter this new seasonal phase, I'm newly inspired to really make it work, rather than fall into the all-too-easy cycle of screen/sleep/screen/repeat. 

Now and then, it's vital to disconnect so we can, well, connect.