Notebooks. God, I love notebooks.

This post is subtitled: Because I Suck.

Let me explain.

Firstly, we all know I like a good notebook. Well, like might not be quite the word

One day, @LizUK and I got lusting after notebooks on twitter, as we are wont to do. I said I have a special cabinet to hold all my notebooks (because I do), she said show me! (I did), and then she said “I want to do a blog about notebooks!”
And I said cool! Here are some of mine.
She said “do you want to write something?”
I said “AWESOME, yes!”

And then… Then I failed. Epically. Because I suck. Yes, I started the post by saying that, but it bears repeating.

The wonderful post Liz wrote is here and full of yummy notebooks.

As I have already spoken about notebooks in the past, I don’t really want to bore you all by talking about them again. So I am going to talk about my recent forays into bookbinding instead.

Mini Monster Notebook

I started bookbinding on something of a whim, back in September 2011. Michelle had done this course locally and told me the chap had a space free. To say I jumped at the chance would be an understatement. Make my own notebooks, to my own exacting specifications?! Where do I sign up?!

These were two of the first notebooks I made. Simple, flat back, case bound, with plain pages. And ugly ass blue cloth covers, because that is all the tutor would let us use. Aesthetically unpleasing as I might have found them, I cannot understate the sheer joy I had in making them and knowing I had MADE these from scratch.

I have always been crafty. From a really young age I made cards, jewellery, christmas decorations, quilts, and all sorts. But somewhere along the way I stopped making things, stopped creating. I hadn’t even noticed, till that first night in bookbinding class. The first moment I started folded the paper, something deep inside of me woke up, and I felt something deep in my soul click. It sounds silly, putting it like that, but it’s the closest way I can describe it.

At the time I was working in a publishing company and enjoying it, but enjoying it a little less than I had when I had started. Three years in, without realising it, my own creativity – be that writing, blogging, or crafting – had been drowned out by the creativity of all the authors I was working with. It was never a conscious thing and I cannot explain how it happened, but it did. Looking back, I can see the slow decline in my own confidence. How could my messing around with words on the blog compare to the people who were writing stories that were actually published? Why did I waste my time doodling when the fabulously talented designers I worked with did it so much better? If my boss didn’t think I was worth promoting (that’s another story, but related), how could I possibly think I was worth anything? I was giving my voice away, closing off something that made me happy, because I started to believe my own self doubt.

Then I did something totally out of character and went somewhere where I knew no-one and did a class. And I made something that hadn’t existed before. I created. And the tutor said I was good at it. I was learning something new, remembering the joy I always found in working out how things worked, and messing around with glue and craft knives and paper. And I went to work and I knew a skill people around me didn’t, and they were jealous. Of me. I had something outside of work and it was mine.

And I woke up.

It is, I admit, a ridiculously simplistic leap to say that bookbinding gave me the faith in myself to go for a new job, but I do not think that it is a total coincidence that shortly after I started the course I DID find a new job. A job I am, somewhat surprisingly, rather good at.

And nearly two years later I am still bookbinding. Still making things and learning. It is fun and frustrating and challenging and annoying and delightful.

Sort of like me.

Today. In Gif form.

(Sorry, I still haven’t gotten over my obsession gifs. I am sure it will pass. Eventually).

This is today.

First, I woke up. Sort of. It took a while.
sleepy kitten rolling over

Then, in a continuation of the end of yesterday, things started to spiral into a fuck up of epic proportions.
fucking up

I reached a point about five minutes ago where clearly,
shouldn't be allowed to make decisions

Now I’m just sitting at my desk. Doing my very best Buffy impression.
crying Buffy

Screw finding my professionalism. Can someone just find my ability to function as something resembling a normal human being? Also, tea, chocolate, and hugs would be nice.

Design lust: Rockett St George

Rockett St George logo

We are quick to call companies on bad service, but we rarely say anything about the ones that impress us. So I am going to do just that.

I make no secret of the fact that I want my own house/space to decorate exactly as I see fit. I am more than a little fed up with the rental lifestyle and being forced to cope with white walls and inherited crappy argos furniture and saggy sofas. So in preparation for the day when I marry that Scottish architect and he builds me my dream house, I torture myself with design blogs and browsing stupidly pricy online stores. Just look at my pinterest if you doubt me!

One of the websites I torture myself with on a regular basis is Rockett St George. They have all sorts of lovely stuff ranging from luggage tags, cheese, poodle lamps, dandelion lights, bears that are tables, magical wallpaper and OODLES of other stuff.

I don’t order from them very often because they are a edging into the “treat yourself” portion of the budget, especially with the postage on top, but I did fall in love with Mortimer and I really DID need a new office footrest.

Every time I have ordered they have been prompt, well packed, and just what I wanted. But that is not why I am writing this post.

I am writing this post because of how they respond on social media, in particular Twitter. My first interaction was a little while ago when I happened to mention I really liked the crow fake bird, and that if I owned him I would call him Mortimer. Next thing I know, they’re tweeting me to say they’ve renamed the product on the website! I was secretly hoping they’d send me one free, but you can’t win ‘em all ;) So of course I had to buy one.

Today, the pouffe arrived and of course I had to #365 a picture. But at the same time, I was a little disappointed the blue/pirate pouffe was listed as “for boys”, whilst the pink/flowers was “for girls”, so I might have said something. And next thing you know, they are responding with grace and changing the listing on their website!

This is how it is done, people. Listen to your customers and respond to them. I’m not saying update your listings every time some crazy girl in Oxford grumbles, but if you agree with them? Admit you’re wrong and do something about it. Because you can guarantee RSG have gone up another notch in my estimation and been stepped up a priority on my mental “I have some spare cash, where shall I waste it?” list.

Plus I just wrote a 500 word blog post and sent it out into the internet for all to see.

Spread the love people.

Um… No.

It is that time of the year – spring. And, more than sunshine and flowers and flip-flops, spring means LOTS of people staring graduation in the face. And shiny soon-to-be publishing/english graduates + assistant positions = me drowning in CVs.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it. I really do like uncovering the gems and helping Bright Young Things into their chosen career (oh, the poor hopelessly optimistic young darlings!) But given the sheer volume, I do find myself saying No an awful lot.

Continue reading

Two Days on Twitter

I tweet rather a lot. And this is, at times, to the detriment of the blog, because I am sharing less random stuff here now. So I thought I would share a snapshot of the last two days as they happened – according to Twitter. And we all know, if it isn’t documented on Twitter, it never happened ;)

Plus, when read in bulk I am fracking hilarious and deserving of a book deal. Or in dire need of some help. It’s a close run thing.

Dear Publishing MA students

The other day I had to do a careers day for final year students looking for a career in publishing and soon-to-be graduates are, well, soon-to-be graduates. The vast majority are sickeningly enthusiastic and woefully under prepared for the real world. Not to discount graduates, we have all been there, and yay for education and enthusiasm, but in my day-to-day, I prefer someone with a touch more seasoning and experience on them. So to start with, I was all mentally prepared to fight them off.

But then the first workshop started, and they were just so fricking adorable. Seriously, they were like a basket of fluffy little kittens.

I tried hard. I tried to be hard, and bitter, and cynical. I am a gatekeeper to their chosen career, and they need to be worthy, damnit!

But whatever I threw at them, they just kept coming back.

They were so motivated. And shiny. And excited. I could, just about, stand firm against this. I have made someone cry before, and you know what?

But these guys were prepared. Naive, stupidly optimistic, woefully ignorant about the real world, ridiculously enthusiastic, but at the same time they KNEW they were in for a fight and they were READY.

I had NO resistance.

I’ll admit it. I crumpled like a paper bag in a rainstorm. I just wanted to hug them all and tell them that everything would be all right

So, soon-to-be graduates from the Brookes Publishing MA, I salute you. You impressed me. I wish you good luck in your endeavors.

Just, don’t come asking me for a job just yet. I still only rarely do graduates.