Now is the Time to Demonstrate Our Influence

I am writing this today to appeal to every person who has the label 'feminist' in their social media. I'm writing to the women who pose in slogan tshirts to demonstrate their belief in feminism. I am writing to anyone who used the phrase "May we know them, May we be them, May we Raise them" on International Women's Day. Please speak up. Speak in a way that works for you but please, do not fall silent having expressed how you cried at the #hometovote hashtag. Your influence is what is needed on the back of the repeal outcome. 

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The APD Podcast: In Conversation with Kristabel Plummer

This month's podcast guest is Kristabel Plummer, the writer and creator behind  the fashion, travel & lifestyle blog iwantyoutoknow.

“It’s ok to be figuring stuff out. It’s ok to be a bit awkward. It’s ok to not know what you’re doing” - Kristabel Plummer

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Slow Blogging

It's Sunday and once again I'm sat, music on (today Nina is telling me birds are flying high for those interested) and I'm gathering my thoughts. I've realised I always want to blog on Sundays lately. It's possibly because I take most of my photos at the weekend and have time to think outside of the frantic busy pace of the working week. I can't help but feel there's something else at play here though. There's something to be said about giving yourself time to think about what you want to share with the world. 

Slow Blogging via A Playful Day

That's what got me thinking about Slow Blogging. Slow Blogging is a movement to reclaim these online spaces and share thoughtful posts that we feel more invested in. When you blog or work in an industry that exists predominantly online, it can feel like you must keep up with the fast pace with which your creations are consumed. Bigger follower numbers, regular blog posts, new images and quick fire Twitter chats seem vital to your continued success. The level of burn out I see from people who lose themselves to beating the stats is so heartbreaking. 

Slow Blogging

Yet, I've noticed something lately that gives me cheer. The content getting the deepest interaction and engagement, is the content telling the most heartfelt stories. I'm not necessarily talking about huge emotional moments, more a sense of investment from the person publishing the blog post or image. I sense that the online world has started to hit 'Peak Click' and now we are looking to root our experiences in real life too. Events and gatherings springing up from online hangouts are happening with more frequency. Also I'm fairly sure that the posts that go viral lately are those which speak to us as people not consumers. 

Is it just me?

Slow Blogging

It's meant that I'm really looking forward to the next workshop I'm teaching in a week at A Yarn Story in Bath.  We'll be exploring how to tell your story online if you're a creative business owner or blogger. There's a few spaces left and I would love to sit and hear what makes you tick as a creative person and then help you to get that story online.

It's not about stats and it's time we stopped being consumed by them. I understand it's frustrating to feel there's a vast echo of nothing when you post and believe me, I've caught myself feeling like I need to churn out content for the sake of keeping my voice heard. What I'm advocating is a gentle storytelling combined with some serious reflection about what you truly want to achieve. The two do not need to be mutually exclusive. My own experience has been that Slow Blogging builds an audience much more effectively. I love to see regular commenters and chat on Twitter with people reacting to what I've chosen to share. It feels more like a flow of conversation between long distance friends. 

If you would like to join us to think about how you're presenting your story online, you can join us at 10 am on Saturday 6th February 2016. All details can be found on A Yarn Story's website here, including tickets. 

If you want to read more about what others have to say about the Slow Blogging movement, you can find some thought provoking posts pinned on my Pinterest board, Love your Blog. If it has struck a chord, I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

 

~ xx

Hello From The Other Side

A few months ago I fell madly, deeply in love. 

The Isle of Purbeck

Armed with cameras and a tent, my friend and I took ourselves off for a creative retreat that changed my life forever. You can prepare for lots of things on a trip away but life changing love isn't one of them.

 (Photo by Clare Devine)

 (Photo by Clare Devine)

Tucked into the Dorset coastline I found myself desperate to escape London. This wasn't a new feeling. I'd been feeling smothered by the noise, the smell and taste of my city for such a long time. I found the fast pace stifling and the seriousness with which everything was treated just made me crave my knitting basket and a good audio book. I wasn't enjoying London and suddenly in that weekend was another life, a life full of possibility and joy. 

I tried to make other options work and I tried hard to bury the craving for big open skies and vast coastal walks. I heard the call of the sea and listened, hoping it wasn't going to make me wild with need. Yet every few weeks I found myself jumping in a car and travelling down to breathe it all in. Then something amazing happened: I found a cottage. Or rather, someone found me, saw my need and offered me a route in. 

Overnight everything changed and I started putting in place the things that needed to happen to take my daughter and I from a gritty city post code to a thatched home tucked into a my beloved coastline. Our cottage won't be ready until early Summer but I knew my path so in the last month I found a temporary place, canceled  the alternative relocation plans and enrolled Little One in a preschool she can thrive in. 

Decisions that involve massive change are never easy and yet somehow, this one burst from within me. I needed it. I needed to feel the land sweep away to join vast open skies and I needed to tell my stories to the sea everyday. I knew I was on the right path despite the overwhelming pressure not to make a mistake that comes from having a young daughter who you are raising on your own. 

So the reason there's been no podcast and very limited blogging is because I've jumped and have been focusing on getting us settled. I've landed and I can honestly say, I have no regrets. Right now a storm is making the power flicker and the internet speed is patchy as hell but you know what? I'm going to make it work. 

Sometimes the rewards are greater than the fear of the jump. 

Lulworth Cove

Sometimes you thank your lucky stars that you're a risk taker. 

I'm not too sure what lies ahead at this point. I'll still be snapping, writing and providing business support. I'll play around with the podcast soon and see how things upload. I'll blog, I'm sure  of it because it feels good to record this change. 

Bear with me. Love is an overwhelming feeling. And I'm so very glad to feel it. 


Let's Get Together This October?

Announcing a Special Workshop for Bloggers and Creative Business Owners! 

Creative Blogging Workshop

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of chatting to Carmen from local yarn store, A Yarn Story. We were pondering the dilemma of work life balance when you're self employed and how to put your best foot forward online. Whether it's keeping up (or not) with a blog, doing your accounts or growing a real life local community, it can all feel a bit frantic. 

We hatched a plan

On Tuesday 13th October you can join Carmen and I at her store in bath for a 2 hour workshop aimed at Bloggers and Creative Business owners. The focus will be positive and creative (as always), but also provide lots of practical tips and tricks to try afterwards. During the workshop we will cover:

- Finding your voice online

- Branding vs story telling

- How to create an engaged community

- A look at social media platforms: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter (and others if people wish)

- Newsletters for business

- Blogging and working with bloggers

- Collaborating and developing a support network

- Measuring impact 

- Maintaining balance and focus 

Creative Blogging Workshop

The session runs from 5.30- 7.30pm with half an hour Q&A afterwards. The session will be a mix of hands on or worked examples with some information sharing by myself. We've also allowed for a little down time after for some further questions should anyone need. 

This is a ticketed event to help you carve out time to pause and reflect about some of your goals this year.  Tickets cost £25 and can be purchased here. We recommend booking in advance as spaces will be limited for this session. 

If you're wondering about some of my experience as a professional supporting small business owners and creating online, you can find out more on my About page.

 

We hope to see you there!

The Life Offscreen Project

Last week I received some special mail that made me stop, smile and reminisce. A simple question: 'when was the last time you climbed a tree?' sparked a few blissful moments of nostalgia. 

Life Offscreen Post

In truth, it wasn't that long ago since I scrabbled up a tree because I like to earn my playful title. Since creating an online home that centres around finding a playful moment in everyday, I've been struck by the many opportunities there are to be a lot wilder and a little less contained. My online friend, Bryony agrees and she blogs about yoga, trail running, bike rides and more. Her instagram is full of cartwheels and views of the sea near her home. 

It's safe to say we hit it off immediately. 

Life Offscreen

Thus started 'The Life Offscreen Project', a simple action that we hope will cause a ripple effect encouraging more people to get outside and off their screens. The idea is really simple:

- send a snail mail reminder to a friend to get out & enjoy some seasonal activities

- Use your mail as a prompt to notice the little things, to gather and share some outdoor inspiration

Over the coming weeks you''ll start noticing other bloggers joining in with us and little pieces of mail being shared that we hope inspires others to live life on a slightly wilder side. You don't have to sign up and no one is going to hold you accountable. This is your moment to share and discover. If you have taken part in the project though, we would love to hear from you!

To start you off, we've gathered some of our other freedom seeking friends to help us create a Pinterest board with plenty inspiration for a Life Offscreen. 

See you on Instagram? #lifeoffscreen.