23 March 2016

Expert in Residence

Well, I can now officially call myself an expert. I like the sound of that. I might even make myself a badge to wear round the house. Maybe even a special hat too to complete the ensemble.

My local library in Northampton was running a volunteer drive at the beginning of the year and was asked if I was interested in volunteering. I said that I was happy to offer my design services to the library and their workshops aimed at startup businesses and was put in touch with the right people.

Today I was invited to the 'Business Planning Workshop' at Northampton Central Library run by Business & IP Centre Northamptonshire and linked with the British Library. Afterwards, we had a meeting and discussed how I get involved.

And the outcome is that I am to be an 'expert in residence' offering 1:1 advice on branding, design and marketing for startups and small businesses. I am looking forward to offering help and advice to people as I have enjoyed mentoring in the past. And of course hope it leads to a bit of design work too!

The Business & IP Centre Northamptonshire offer loads of free workshops that can help get someone starting up their own business get on the right track. There are workshops about social media and websites for your business, links to the British Library webinars and other 1:1 sessions.

The Business Planning Workshop I went to today was great and even though I have a business plan, I learnt some new tips and things I need to include, as well as advice specific to Northamptonshire.

For more information, resource and other advice on offer in Northampton and surrounding areas, check out the Business & IP Centre Northamptonshire website.

24 February 2016

Return to blogging and a fresh start for Lovely Designs

As you will see from the date of my last post (January 2014), its been quite a while since I last wrote on this blog. There has been some good intentions to write, but to be honest, I had fallen a bit out of love with Lovely Designs and had some more important things on my plate. So I decided to let Lovely Designs, this blog and Facebook group rest for a bit.

The biggest news and reason for not being so active with Lovely Designs and stuff has been the birth of my little boy Jensen in May 2014. As anyone who is a parent will know, babies suck up a lot of time. Having a newborn was a little bit like being in the twilight zone with jet lag and any thought of getting out the door took twice as long with a few nappy and outfit changes along the way.

Jensen at 4 weeks old having a snuggle with me in his sling.

As we settled into our new family life and I took time off my day job to go on maternity leave, work and design was definitely lower down the list of priorities. Although I did do a few projects here and there to keep my toe in the water.

I returned to my graphic design job in January 2015 after 8 months leave and was lucky enough to be able to reduce my hours to a four day week. It meant I had an extra day with my boy to go to groups and play dates but didn't hit my salary as hard as going even more part time. I was working two days a week from home and a friend who was training to become a childcarer came to the house with her little girl to look after Jensen at home. We would have lunch together and cuddles before nap time. The other two days were in the office with Jensen being looked after by my mum and it was great to have 'adult time' and wear nice clothes and shoes.

I felt that I had achieved a work life balance that (for a while) worked for us as a family.

However, in August 2015, it was anounced to us at work that the design office was being relocated and unfortunately that would mean a much longer commute that would create a strain on family life. I reluctantly chose not to move offices and so worked up until December 2015.

I decided to turn this negative change into a more positive proposition and put a lot of thought into becoming a freelance designer. I hope it will give me the flexibility and balance between working in the design industry and spending time with my son.

A recent selfie with my 20 month old toddler.

Since the beginning of January 2016, I have been busy reviving and rejigging Lovely Designs to take the empasis off wedding design and include some examples of graphic design work from my portfolio.

Here is the redesigned logo.

I have also tweaked and updated the website which is built using Google Sites. At some point I will redesign and build it using a snazzier build tool but it will do for now. Here is the old home page followed by the new version.

28 January 2014

We got featured in Brides magazine

We got featured in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Brides magazine. I can't quite believe it's really in there and nearly forgot all about it.

Back in the summer of 2013 (feels like soooooo long ago now!), I was contacted by a member of the team at Brides to submit a selection of work that could feature in their editorial pieces.

There was a list of themes that they were covering and I sent them as much of my Lovely Designs work that met their brief. And one of my items made the cut!

It's the Lily Meadow place card design that was used for Matthew and my wedding.

And the best part is that it's not even an advert, its an actual editorial piece all about pretty floral stationery.

High five people!