2013 July

Office decor inspiration: Wimbledon Whites (and a touch of strawberry)

07 08 2013

The tournament may be over but Wimbledon fever is high! We’d recorded the match as we were busy in the garden, so we were incommunicado with friends, family and social media until we were able to settle down and enjoy what was Andy Murray’s moment of glory… What a match!

To continue the theme, today’s office decor inspiration is crisp Wimbledon white and a splash of fun, strawberry-red.

Images: {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6}



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On the menu for the #GlitteratiSocial... Strawberry & Coconut Batida

07 05 2013

What a beautiful summer’s day it has been so far.  The sunshine may well have you looking ahead excitedly to the weekend. How about a drink to start it in style?  On the cocktail menu for the #GlitteratiSocial today is the delish, Brazilian favourite – a Strawberry & Coconut Batida.

***Hands up, I didn’t make this one so I’m reliably informed of its recipe by the mixologist who created this beaut.

You will need:
A handful of fresh strawberries
1 shot condensed milk
1 shot coconut milk
A large shot of vodka or cachaca

To create:
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. Serve in a rocks glass and garnish with a strawberry.

Join the #GlitteratiSocial get-together on Twitter today at 5pm (BST).

I hope to connect with you later x

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Secrets of my Success: Joy Thigpen

07 04 2013

admire: “to regard with pleasure, wonder or approval”

For another definition, of the visual kind, take a look at Joy Thigpen‘s beautiful work.  Oh. My. Word!  Creative Director and Stylist Joy says of her work, “basically I just like to make things beautiful and interesting”.  And, to boot, Joy is just about one of the most lovely people I’ve had the pleasure of “virtually” meeting.  Enjoy this week’s interview with creative entrepeneur and mummy of four, Joy.

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What is your title/position:

Creative Director + Stylist

What has been the ‘defining moment’ that set you on the path you’re on today? How did you get to where you are now?

Several come to mind. But perhaps given that we just passed Father’s Day and that my dad just narrowly dodged death a handful of weeks ago, it seems they all go back to a conversation I had with my dad while I was in college. I was agonising over which major to choose–so many seemed so very interesting to me but very few of the ones I was most interested in were the ones with high paying careers waiting on the other side. But my dad advised me not to worry about the money. “Just do what you love and the money will come.” (Click to tweet it).  I’d say that piece of advice is really what set me on this path.

Tell me about your vision/goals for your future.

How long do you have? I just love making beautiful, engaging, natural, subtle, and sumptuous environments. There are so many avenues for that kind of work and I love them all. I hope to continue doing some weddings (such a perfect moment to design for) and I hope to work on some more permanent environments and ultimately a town. I have this reoccurring dream (like, every day) of how we could all live better and more beautifully and more sustainably.

What has been most effective for you in your achievements so far, in turning your goals/visions into reality? Where do you start?

Sometimes it takes me a while for the visions to materialise into something tangible enough to name and begin to describe – the biggest and best visions, anyway. I feel like so much of my work is to be a dreamer and I take that part of my life and my imagination quite seriously. I’ve learned that at the earliest moments possible it is important to me to start taking steps toward those dreams, even when there’s still very little ground to start on. It can be messy and scary because there is still so much unknown and I bump into things in the dark BUT its always best when I get moving right away. Otherwise, the vision is given to someone else and they will do it if I won’t and then I end up kicking myself that I didn’t do it when I got the urge.

How do you stay motivated and inspired?

Most of the time I can’t help but feel motivated and inspired about something. It’s just not always the things on my to do list.  Getting to spend as much time as possible on the things I’m feeling inspired about is always fueling. With a full time job and family with four little ones I can feel drained by all the little stuff that keeps piling up. Outsourcing as much of that stuff (cleaning, etc) as I can helps, as does travelling. Sometimes I feel like a worn-out mule carrying all these weighty yet lofty dreams. I don’t think I even put them there but there they are. As long as I can stay in touch with them I am motivated to keep going. I guess its the dangling carrot…

What has been your biggest lesson learned?

I feel like I am constantly learning big lessons. Lately if I had to sum it up, it’d be something about taking things one step at a time. Enjoy, be present in today and keep stepping. (Click to tweet it).

What have been (or still are) your biggest fears and challenges, and how do you overcome them?

I want to make the world a more beautiful place. Its hard for me to see all the ugly, terrible things in this world–I’m talking about everything from bad fonts and polyester to hunger and sex trafficking. My biggest fears are somewhere in the realm of not spending my life on things that matter and fearing that my dreams are too big to ever happen. My best chance of overcoming those fears are to try to do my best to bring to life as many of the dreams I have been given as possible. I think those are the things we are called to do. If each one of us would be faithful to the visions we are given (the good and beautiful and helpful ones) we would each be doing our part and this world really would be a more beautiful place.

What do you believe is the secret of your success?

The parts of my life that are the most successful are the parts that I am most diligent about. I guess that has a lot to do with defining what success would look like for me in any given area and then doing it – which isn’t that hard once you can imagine how good it could be. 

What 3 tips would you offer ambitious women reading this?

1. Be ambitious! We need you to go for your ambitious dreams!

2. Don’t be afraid to have a family, too. I want my daughter and sons to be ambitious and faithful to their dreams. The best chance of that happening is if I follow mine (and spend time with them). Yes, its more exhausting but they are part of my dream (I mean, I really wanted them) so it works out. I can’t imagine my life without them.

3. Get help/build your team. You can’t do it all on your own. That’s ok. There are other people that love and want to do the things you need help with! Its perfect!

What book has most inspired you?

Most recently (and by recent I mean in the last 5 years–I don’t often get to read a lot)–The Alchemist


Image via Joy Thigpen

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The Wealth Files: Re-new your money vows

07 03 2013

What is your earliest money memory?

One Christmas a (very) long time ago, I bought my sister a blue, interlocking-heart-shaped, plastic bracelet – snazzy eh! (Coincidentally enough she’d bought me exactly the same – I’ve only just twigged that my parents maybe had something to do with that!).  So, why do I share this?

I mentioned recently that my recent Wealth Detox has had me paying close attention to my money mindset.  It seems that many of us (me included!) made childhood ‘vows’ around money that we’re loyal to well into our adult years… some more healthy than others.

So the blue bracelet incident… When I think back to that time, I remember how nice it was to spend money on something that made someone feel happy.  I love to treat, even to this day.  But I also remember having to buy on the cheap, that I couldn’t afford many things and, frankly, to spend whatever I have (those coins were burning a hole in my pocket!).  OK, maybe some of these associations are based on more than just this one incident but, the thing is, questioning some of these memories highlighted some ‘weeds’ that were long overdue uprooting.  Looking at the language I’ve associated with money – “I can’t afford it”, “it’s a struggle” – are unhealthy at best, sabotaging at worst.

So, I’m aware of the weeds, now what?  Well, it’s time to take a little responsibility for my money status quo and I’m making some new vows.  

Would you like to renew your vows? Take 10 minutes to ponder these questions:

  • What is/are your earliest memories of money?
  • What were your parents attitudes to money?
  • What messages were you given about money?  About those people with it?  About those people without it?
  • What one word describes the feeling you had about money as a child?
  • What one word describes the feeling you have around money now?

Look over your responses.  What did you learn?  What would you like to change? Make a commitment, say it out loud.

I’d love to hear from you.  Please share your money vow below…

Image source

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Behind the Scenes with Lisa Butler of Elembee

07 02 2013

Making the internet a pretty place. With a strap-line like that, my attention was well and truly grabbed, with both hands!

Earlier this year I stumbled upon Elembee, the creation of the very talented Lisa Butler, and immediately knew that this was my website’s fairy godmother-to-be (I’m saving hard to make it happen this year!).  Lisa, who is a former magazine editor and print shop designer, is a whizz at marrying beautiful designs with the techie bit, coding, to make online spaces that are just dreamy!  I can’t wait to work with her myself and wanted to share her talents with you too (and you can get a more frequent fix by reading her blog). Today, Lisa is giving us a peek behind the scenes of her business

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What is your title/position?

Owner, web designer/blogger

Tell me a bit about your business.

I create web designs that are pretty and functional, for the business-minded blogger and creative entrepreneur. As a creative entrepreneur who was able to launch my own business through blogging, I love working with people like me who see the value in blogging and want to use it as part of their business strategy.

Describe your typical day/week schedule.

I’m not a morning person at all, so I typically ease into the work day. I try to wake up around 8, lay in bed a little while longer making sure my latest blog post went up and checking emails and Twitter, then I make breakfast and schedule my social media for the day. Lately, I’ve also started walking in the morning to help me wake up.

I usually spend most of the morning working on my own business tasks — blogging, social media, emails, and then any client tasks I can handle quickly, like revisions or support issues. I’ll usually dedicate my afternoons to one or two projects, whether that’s spending a few hours putting together initial design thoughts for one project, or the entire afternoon finishing up the coding for another. I try to end my day around dinner time, but sometimes I can’t resist finishing one last thing.

I try to stick to a Monday through Friday working schedule and take the weekends off — Mondays are always less enjoyable when I work on the weekends, no matter how much I love what I do. I’ve learned that time to rest and recharge is just as important to the health of my business as getting things done.

How do you plan and organize your time?  What are your biggest challenges with this?  What tips can you offer?

I am a huge fan of the Pomodoro Technique — it was a total game changer for me when I started using it. The idea is to work in 25 minute increments with 5 minute breaks, though I have friends who prefer to work for 45 minutes with a 15 minute break. I use the Focus Booster app to keep time. What I love about it is that it makes it easier to do those tasks you don’t want to do — for me, that’s dealing with emails. Knowing that I just have to do it for 25 minutes and can take a break makes it easier to get started.

As far as planning my day, I have to add tasks to my to-do list as soon as they come up, or I will never remember to do them. I like to dump tasks on the Monday of the week I want to accomplish them, then each Monday I figure out what day I want or need to do each task. I’d say my biggest challenge is that I often overestimate what I can do in a week, but I’ve learned to accept that my to-do list will never be done. It’s all about prioritizing. And again, the Pomodoro technique helps — maybe I don’t have 3 hours to move a project for my own business forward, but I can spend 25 minutes on it, which is better than nothing at all.

What are your essential office tools?

My computer is essential to my work, so I have to have one that runs well. I recently replaced my MacBook Pro with an iMac. Honestly, my MacBook Pro probably would have been fine with a new hard drive, but with as much as I use my computer, I recognized that it would have just been a band-aid, and I would have been in the same situation a few months later. I knew it would be better to invest in a new computer and use my MacBook Pro for travel only, rather than running it into the ground. You have to invest in your most important tools!

Are there any websites or apps that you’d recommend to other entrepreneurial women?

Todoist keeps me sane — it’s where I keep up with my to-do list. I’ve created separate, color-coded projects for the different stages of my work (design, development, revisions, other), as well as projects for my own business and blog. For each design project, I add that person’s name as a task under the stage the project is in, so I can quickly see how many projects I have in each stage at a time. Todoist makes it super easy to set due dates and drag things around.

I’m a huge fan of Google Apps for Business, particularly Google Drive. I store all of my business documents and notes there, so I have access to them anywhere, and I also share project questionnaires and other information with clients through it.

I know everyone loves Gmail, but I personally use MacMail, even though my email addresses are through Gmail. I think MacMail makes it easier to organize your emails into folders, and I love having offline access to my emails. 


Describe your workspace and how it integrates with your working style.  How does it motivate/focus your work?

I had been eyeing the West Elm white lacquer parsons desk for ages, and I finally purchased it this spring. Before then, I was using a cheap, crappy desk I bought right after college. It’s amazing the difference a desk can make — my whole workspace feels brighter and cleaner, which keeps me inspired. I keep it mostly clean, with a few decorations, a notebook, and a candle — candles are always good for lifting your spirits. I also have a cute owl speaker for my music — I love that it has good form and function.

What book has most inspired you?

I don’t typically read a lot of business books, or any books that require heavy thinking — I read at the end of the day as an escape, so I prefer fiction. However, Design is a Job had a huge impact on how I see my business — it basically showed me that any issues I run into with clients are just points of miscommunication, where I’ve failed to teach them how my process works. You can use issues as a way to troubleshoot and course-correct, to explain any potential points of confusion up front and avoid future issues.

What’s your typical working lunch?

I really try to take a break during lunch. I usually grab leftovers or make a sandwich, then I catch up on my DVR, find a show on Netflix, or read. I’ve found that I need that midday break from the computer. I don’t perform as well when I’m trying to multitask, so I might as well enjoy my lunch and stop thinking about working until I’m actually back at my computer doing it.

And how do you switch off once the working day is done?

I literally have to switch off the computer — otherwise, it’s too tempting to find “just one more thing” that needs to be done. I don’t have a separate office, but my workspace is definitely a designated area in my living room, and I don’t enter that space unless I intend to work. If I want to get on the internet when I’m not working, I use my laptop or iPad on the couch.

What makes your life sparkle?

Doing what I love for a living! I love knowing that when I complete a project, I’ve truly made a difference for the business owner behind the website, and given them a space that represents them well. I also still can’t believe that I get to wake up each morning and set my own rules, and I don’t have anyone to answer to if I want to travel somewhere — I can just take my work with me.

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Free planner....

07 01 2013

Our household is pretty disorganised when it comes to meal-times.  We often decide on the day …. and spend way too much on impulse shops!!  I’m trying to make a new habit, to make sure our little one is getting a balanced diet, and found a little planning helped.  So, here you go – I share with you a meal planner which you can download here if you wish.  Well, if you’re going to have to plan, may as well make it pretty!

Bon appetit x

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