So Simply Trying | Dr Botanicals Coconut Soap

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As part of the Dr Botanicals Reviewer club I’m back with yet another review. This time I will be reviewing their Coconut Oil Rejuvenating Body Exfoliating Bar. Its a 100g bar of soap and although it comes at quite a high price for a soap; that is £19.99, the one thing I can say straight away is that this soap lasts a long time. It is made out of coconut ; both shredded coconut and coconut oil which work in union to gently exfoliate and moisturize the skin.

Lets talk about the exfoliation. It is very gentle. Personally I’d give it a 2.5/5 for the exfoliation (I like a good scrub guys) however this soap would definitely prove to be great for anyone looking for a gentle exfoliating soap or someone with very sensitive skin.

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On the other hand I cannot fault its moisturizing qualities. It is in fact a very moisturizing soap and I love using this soap after shaving my legs as it leaves me legs feeling extra fine, smooth and hydrated. For this reason I do think I would buy this soap again; although probably only on offer, sorry Dr Botanicals.

To briefly comment on the scent its a gentle coconut smell nothing too strong, so if you were first weary you can now rest assured you will not be walking around smelling like a coconut for hours on hours.I love coconut and find coconut oil to have so many uses so I was excited to try this product. Speaking of would anyone be interested in a post where I share the many exciting ways I have learned to use coconut oil; some make sense, but some may be a bit out there and you may not have heard of them before. Let me know and till next time.

– J

*Disclaimer: I was sent this product free of charge in return for an honest review on Feefo, only thing I had to pay for was the shipping. All the thoughts about the product are my own though and I was under no obligation to give positive feedback or to make a longer review in the form of a blog post.

 

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So Simply Trying | Dr Botanicals Pomegranate Noir Indulgence Cream – [Vegan Skincare Product Review]

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Finally getting to review this baby. The first time this product was shipped out to me it got lost in the mail, must have been due to the little snow we had here in London. However, I called Dr.Botanicals and they were kind enough to send me another tube which came very promptly. I’ve spent the last few days using this cream and overall I’m very pleased with this product.

This cream is said to visibly lift and firm the skin. The main active ingredient is coconut oil to help hydrate and protect the skin, and Tiare Flower Extract to further nourish the skin. I can honestly say that the cream has managed to make my skin feel firmer and similarly to the previous cream I tried the Dr.Botanicals Duo Moisturising Tropical Invigorating Cream, it has matted my skin and reduced the size of my pores which I’m over the moon with.

Whilst its original price of £44 for the 50ml tube really shocked me at first (EDIT: Now £29. looks like Dr.Botanicals is listening to us and taking on the feedback 🙂 thank youuuu ), with the results I’m getting whilst using these creams I can actually now see myself getting this product in the future at full price. To me it’s worth it. My skin is improving and I’m happy.

 

 

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I find that although both creams have a gentle scent the Tropical Invigorating Cream was a slightly more feminine smell. Personally I haven’t found this pomegranate scent off-putting, however I’ve read other reviews of this cream and there are people who claim it smells a little like cologne. I don’t really think so but I would say it’s not the most feminine or floral smell.

I will happily continue using this cream. If you are looking for a firming face cream then choose this one, if you want to get a brightening effect I’d say use the Dr.Botanicals Duo Moisturising Tropical Invigorating Cream. In my opinion both have been great for different reasons.

*Disclaimer: I was sent this product free of charge in return for an honest review on Feefo, only thing I had to pay for was the shipping. All the thoughts about the product are my own though and I was under no obligation to give positive feedback or to make a longer review in the form of a blog post.

 

So Simply Trying | Scrapbooking & Paperchase Scrapbooking Workshop

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A few weeks back me and my friend Jodie (a.k.a. owner of fibroloveaffair blog ) went to London’s flagship Paperchase store to take part in Project Craft : How to Scrapbook Workshop. So I thought I would write a blog post about how I found the workshop and how I’m doing with my new found hobby.

The Scrapbooking workshop cost £20 and all the materials used during the session are included in that price. You get to leave with your own little scrapbook, some materials, hopefully at least one double page spread and lots of useful tips.

You are advised to think of a theme/ subject for your scrapbook before attending and to bring some bits and bobs (you know photographs, old tickets, paper keepsakes and cut out sort of things). As I already have a celebrations/ memory scrapbook started, in the end I decided to focus my new scrapbook on a theme instead. For me that theme was going to be * My Spiritual Path *.  My intended new year’s resolution was to focus deeper on my path and I thought what better way to this then through a creative project.

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Intro to BoS

Many Pagans/ Witches choose to create a Book of Shadows (BoS). If you’ve seen Charmed you may have an idea of what this is, however a BoS is deeper than just spells book. To me it is a place to record my findings, magickal experiences and spiritual journey. It is something that I will preserve and go back to down the road, and maybe even pass on to a daughter or granddaughter say they show an interest in the path too.

These Shadow books can be made in so many different ways; they can be a simple notebook, a binder so you can pop information in and out with ease, a digital folder on your computer with typed up information, there are limitless options really. To me a Scrapbook of Shadows just sounded right.

The workshop was great! I did have some experience of scrapbooking before but honestly I learnt so much there. We went through how to arrange content, layer pages and ways of embellishing the pages. We learnt how to make fun little flag bunting, how to line envelopes and that you can even cut out shapes in the paper itself to create little custom frames/ windows.

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After the workshop ended we did get a 10% off coupon to use in store and this is probably the toughest part for me really. Staying sane and not buying too much. I’m a bit of art supply/ craft addict and the flagship Paperchase in London is a three floor shop full of that stuff. Nerveless, I didn’t go overboard but managed to get some lovely craft paper to scrapbook with at home.

Since the workshop me and my friend have had a few scrapbooking dates together and we’ve really enjoyed ourselves. It’s been super fun, we share all our craft supplies between each other and chat and have tea. It’s amazing. I have trouble relaxing on my own as I tend to feel guilty about taking time for myself but I’m finding that our sessions together have been the best therapy for my silly little brain.

If you considered going to a Paperchase workshop I would highly recommend it. This blog post by the way isn’t sponsored by Paperchase (I wish it was hahaha) it’s plainly my own views on the experience I had and what I got to learn.  I definitely want to go back to try something else too. There’s so much left to learn.

If you scrapbook or have been to a Project Craft workshop do let me know what it’s been like for you in the comments. I’d love to get to know more people here on WordPress. If you are interested in current Paperchase workshops in London click here to go to their eventbrite page.

 

So Simply Trying | Dr Botanicals Moroccan Rose Superfood Facial Oil (Vegan Skincare Product Review)

Dr Botanicals Moroccan Rose Face Oil
Dr Botanicals Moroccan Rose Face Oil

Back with more of Dr Botanicals.  Today I will be reviewing the Moroccan Rose Superfood Facial Oil. Coming at a whooping £35.90 for a 15ml travel size bottle (or £55 for a 30ml) this oil is said to be infused with minerals and vitamins, all working together to rejuvenate, renew and protect skin.

I’m going to come straight off the bat here and tell you, I probably wouldn’t have brought and tried this if I had to have paid the full price. I don’t know maybe I’m cheap, but I feel guilty spending a bigger sum of money on something that may or may not work. That being said becoming a reviewer on their site and only having to pay the Postage and Packaging fee for this oil, I feel I got myself a steal and I was excited to try this higher-end skin care product.

Being someone with oily skin, initially I was frightened to put this on my skin. However after dispensing 3 drops on my fingertips as per instructions, I was surprised to find that the oil had a more water based feel then your typical oil. Applying to the cheeks, forehead and chin, the oil was almost immediately absorbed into my skin leaving no greasy residue.

The smell is a gorgeous subtle kind, and whilst it doesn’t linger on for hours, I found the next ten to fifteen minutes after application to be pure bliss. In all honesty I prefer a gentler rose fragrance compared to some of the sharp wild rose fragrance’s I’ve smelled in the past.

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I have used the oil about eight times now and whilst I haven’t yet seen any anti-aging results, I have no doubt in my mind that there’s good stuff in this little bottle. My skin does feel more hydrated and moisturised.

I would say this is more of a night time product then daytime only because I feel all those nutrients and vitamins have more time to sink into your skin and work their magic as you sleep. I did feel weird thinking about using it under my make up so this one is part of my night routine only.

Would I repurchase this? Ummm probably not unless I would find myself earning a bit more. However I think the oil does what it says and does have its benefits. It definitely managed to make me feel more pampered, and I found myself running up to my boyfriend telling him to give my face a sniff. Hahaha ^_^ Oh what a dork I am.

Do you use any face oils? What’s your experience with them? Let me know in the comments below.

*Disclaimer: I was sent this product free of charge in return for an honest review on Feefo, only thing I had to pay for was the shipping. All the thoughts about the product are my own though and I was under no obligation to give positive feedback or to make a longer review in the form of a blog post.

So Simply Trying | To Explore; My trip to Hastings & Hifest (Hastings Illustration Festival)

 

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Finally getting around to this post. I have taken on some retail work as a temp sales assistant over Christmas time to make ends meet over this lovely but expensive period, so I’ve been a little tight with time. However I have a very exciting trip to talk about and I’ve left it long enough. It was about half way through November that Instagram reminded me that Hifest otherwise known as Hastings Illustration Festival would be coming up.

So what is Hifest? Hifest is a weekend made up of workshops, talks, live drawing, screenings, exhibitions all to do with illustration. You can see why naturally I was drawn to this event. Actually this was the fourth year that Hifest was happening so I really didn’t want to miss it again. I was lucky because I actually have an old friend living in Hastings so accommodation was an instant tick off the list and one thing I didn’t have to worry about.

So as soon as that was sorted I booked my train tickets (which remarkably came really cheap), and the actual Hifest weekend pass. Ahhh this was actually going to happen I thought to myself. You don’t understand, this was to be my first ever solitary trip. Before this I have travelled but I always travelled with somebody whether that is my parents, sister or boyfriend. I am the girl who although has lived in London for over 10 years now, still hates the tube and is very prone to worrying about getting lost and taking the wrong turn. So yeah I was very nervous.

But past the nerves, I was excited. I was going to meet Fran Meneses and Holly Exley who I have watched on YouTube so long now and who have given me so much hope about pursuing a creative career. I just knew it would be a great weekend and I knew I’d have so much fun.

Friday 1st of December

My train to Hastings was at 11:47 AM so I left pretty early to give myself plenty of time. Of course I got to London Victoria Station extremely early indeed so I decided to have a relaxing cup of tea from Costa.

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Grabbing some tea at Costa

The journey itself was a little stressful. I had to make sure I was in the right carriage as the train was going to split half way through my journey and then as I was on a delayed train they also made Eastbourne the last stop so I had to change to another train. For first time travelling alone all this was a little scary but all was good and I finally got to Hastings.

First thing I heard leaving the station was seagulls and then two minutes later one literally walked in front of me. It was one of the biggest seagull’s I’ve ever seen. I got a few groceries by the station to last me the weekend and then went to the 1066bakery Café where I had another cup of tea and a lovely almond croissant.

Hastings Seagull
Hastings seagulls are massive.

I had a lot of time to kill before meeting my friend at her house at 16:30pm so I decided to explore the seafront and walk the Hastings Pier. It’s no surprise this pier won ‘Pier of the year’ as it was truly amazing. When I walked it, there wasn’t that many other people on it and it felt peaceful that way. I loved watching the waves hit the pebbly shores and looking out on the vast sea. The grandness of the ocean had a way of making my problems feel small. The stripy beach huts placed on the pier were so cute and cheesy I loved everything about them. It was a lovely walk.

That evening I settled, had some lentil soup and prepared for the things to come tomorrow.

Saturday 2nd December

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The beautiful view I got to wake up to

After admiring the seafront views out my window, making myself breakfast and eating I was ready for the day. I arrived at Printworks early and as one of the first people to get in I was given a free goodie bag. Yay me! Then I went upstairs and entered the room full of artists.

I browsed and admired the artwork, gosh these people were talented. Then there they were, Holly and Fran. So different seeing them in real life. I got very nervous, social anxiety kicked in and I thought for a moment I wouldn’t be able to approach them at all, but I did. I purchased two packs of postcards from Holly and a mini zine and planner stickers from Fran.

Ed (Fran’s husband) was also kind enough to take a picture of us three, and Fran and Holly gave me hugs too. This day just started and it was already amazing.

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Me with my idols 🙂 Love them ladies

I continued looking through the stalls until 11:30 AM and then I made my way to Trinity Street for a talk about children’s book illustration at 12 PM. Illustrators Ben Newman, Emily Hughes and Jim Stoten were on the panel and discussed what it’s like to illustrate books, what it takes, their process and how they got in touch with publishers. It was amazing to hear from people who are doing what one day I hope I get to do.

Then I took a tea break with some lovely vegan chocolate cake at Café Des Arts. It was delish and I definitely recommend this café if you ever visit Hastings.

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It was Yummy!

At 4pm Nina Cosford lead a wonderful talk with illustrators Isabel Greenberg, Elanor Taylor and Maria Ines Gul about what it’s like being female illustrators, the pressures social media can sometimes put on us illustrators, and the importance of not letting social media likes/ follows dictate our lives. It was a very down to earth talk and honestly something I definitely have been dealing with over this year. One of my New Year resolutions will be to let go of some of that pressure on myself to get my Instagram/ Facebook perfect and to stop comparing myself to other illustrators so much.

I want to have fun creating and not worry so much about others opinion on me. We all make mistakes and that’s just human nature. This next year has got to be a calmer year.

Either way the talk was amazing. I got myself a subway, got home, ate and headed back to Printworks for 9 PM for the Hifest after-party. Party’s aren’t my thing and I probably wouldn’t have gone if it wasn’t that before the 4 PM talk I met and got chatting with Emily who happens to be an illustrator too. She’s amazing; we shared a lot in common and had good relatable conversations. It’s funny actually, I thought coming here by myself I might get a little lonely but I felt more social then I have in a long long time. It was a lovely night but I knew I’d have an early start the following day so off back home and to bed I went.

Sunday 3rd December

Veggie English Breakfast
Eat @ The Stade has the best English Veggie Breakfast

For breakfast I went to Eat@The Stade and had the most amazing Veggie English Breakfast with Cumberland style sausage, veggie bacon, baked beans, cooked mushrooms, grilled tomato, a hash brown and fresh amazing granary bread. The full thing was only £6.50 which has to be one of the cheapest veggie breakfasts ever and honestly the tastiest I’ve had out for sure. Just writing about it is making me hungry. If you are vegan/ vegetarian and want a good breakfast in Hastings, go here!

After breakfast I went to Printworks again to go see that day’s art stalls. I got Nina Cosfords ‘Mortar Life’ zine which honestly is the best souvenir of Hastings ever. It has little illustrations of all the unique, wonky, colourful buildings you can find across the town. It’s a beautiful collection. I also got a self-care zine by Lois De Silva, because I feel this year I really want to take better care of my mental health and well ‘These Things Might Help’ sounds like the zine that might give me some pointers.

I got home, packed and decided to take my bag with me to the last two events of Hifest as I had a train to catch at 16:22PM and I didn’t want to be coming back for it again.

The last talk I wanted to hear was ‘Face Your Fears’ by Frannerd. Fran did a great job; I know she herself was facing her fear of presenting in English that day but she really did do a good job. The talk was amazing, her presentation had such cute little drawings throughout it, and it was clear she put so much effort into that day.

After the talk we all moved to the Cake Room Café and Fran and Nina had organized a drawing date. It was amazing to see them draw live and everyone felt very included in this live drawing session. Ed came around with two cans one where everyone had to put an adjective and another one for nouns. Then Fran and Nina took turns in choosing one adjective and one noun and everyone would draw that thing. There were some funny drawing prompts like ‘freaky desk’, ‘funky-fresh iguana’, ‘foggy jellyfish’ and ‘dreamy pot’. It was a fun little exercise and I was a bit sad I had to leave half way through to catch my train.

In general though the whole trip was just spectacular. It’s a weekend I won’t forget. I hope Hifest is something I get to go to again, or dare I dream big, a festival I get to be a part of one day. Who knows who knows? One thing is for sure, I came out well from it; I met inspiring people, I got lots of art goodies and I got to experience a new place. Travelling alone was different but you know what, I would do it again.

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My Hifest Haul

Have you ever taken any trips alone? Would you want to and where would you go? Let me know by leaving a comment. Also Happy New Year my dearest reader!

So Simply Trying | Dr Botanicals Tropical Invigorating Cream – [Vegan Skincare Product Review]

I recently got chosen to become a reviewer for Dr Botanicals, a London based company specializing in vegan skincare products. Their philosophy is based around creating a range of products made from pure natural ingredients, which are paraben-free and without all the nasty and harmful preservatives.

 

The first product I’ve been asked to review is this Duo Moisturising Tropical Invigorating Cream, which is said to be “A lightweight cream formulated with elderflower to protect and repair the skin.” The description goes on to say that the cream also has Chamomile Flower Extract to heal and soothe irritated and damaged skin and Tiare Flower Extract to deeply moisturise, nourish and purify the skin.

I have used the cream daily for a week now and I can honestly say that I feel my skin has become more hydrated, supple and smooth. This cream is very gentle and light on the skin and leaves no greasy residue at all.

I have quite oily skin so when getting new creams and moisturisers I do worry about whether they will be too oily for me, but this cream sinks into the skin really quickly and I found my worries went away after first use. The scent being quite gentle to start with doesn’t linger too long but is pleasant and quite luxurious on application.

What came as a lovely surprise is how much the cream minimized the appearance of my pores. I’ve always had quite visible pores due to issues with blackheads and my oily skin. Over the years I have improved on this through exfoliating weekly and having a better night-time skin routine in general, however getting this cream I didn’t really expect these pore-reducing results and it really has been a good addition to my skin care regime.

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If I had to say any negatives it would be that to me personally £39.90 is a bit much for a 50ml tube of cream, however a small amount does seem to go a long way and I hope I can make this tube of goodness last as long as I can. Overall I’m extremely happy with this cream as my complexion does seem to be getting brighter and smoother. So if you are looking for a vegan or more natural line of skincare products you may want to consider Dr Botanicals. I would be really excited to try more products by this brand and hope I get to review more of their products in the future.

*Disclaimer: I was sent this product free of charge in return for an honest review on Feefo, only thing I had to pay for was the shipping. All the thoughts about the product are my own though and I was under no obligation to give positive feedback or to make a longer review in the form of a blog post.

My Top 5 Books for Creative Block

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Battling that second blog post anxiety, but here I go.  Today I want to share with you top 5 of my favourite books, which help me, get out of a creative block. I will also insert some photos from these books in this post so I hope they will be able to inspire you a little bit today as well.

Okay, let’s talk about that dreaded creative block. Yep, whether we are illustrators, writers, or content creators creative block is something that can hit us hard and unexpectedly.  As an illustrator and designer myself I get it every now and again. My symptoms include being overwhelmed, thinking my drawings will be bad even before I start drawing them, lack of ideas, zero inspiration and no motivation.

Luckily, there are things that can be done to start helping you change that. Books I find are just one of the things that help me but there are loads more and I think it’s important to find these things that can help you, for when you do get to that low place. Think of it as your very own emergency creative block kit; make it so that it’s there for when you need it the most.

Without further ado, here are the 5 books that help get me get excited to create again, and get those creative juices going again.

5. Art of Kiki’s Delivery Service

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Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of my all-time favourite films from Studio Ghibli. If you’ve never heard of it (I won’t judge) it’s about a young witch and her talking black cat, and their challenges as she settles into a new community during her one year away from home as she pursues her witch training. This one is close to my heart as it’s the art and process from behind one of my favourite films.

I just love seeing the ideas that formed the film and the character development. In the film Kiki has short brown hair but in the book we can see that the animators tried so many looks on her including long blonde hair. I feel that would have been so strange in the film, but I say that having watched the film way too many times and having grown attached to today’s Kiki.

Something about seeing other people’s sketches and unpolished work inspires me and gives me hope. It gives me that sense that it’s okay to put pencil to paper, not knowing where it might end up in the end. All things start from somewhere, from ideas. As Mr. Nishi (Whisper of the Heart, Studio Ghibli) said “You have to dig deep down and find the emeralds tucked away inside you. And that’s just the beginning. Once you have found your gems, you have to polish them.” So those initial sketches/drafts you put down at first, some may not work, but some may surprise you and need polishing, and turn out beautiful.

4. Timeline: A Visual History of our World by Peter Goes

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Don’t know about other illustrators but I find myself buying way too many children’s books. This is one I fell in love with from first sight. Peter Goes fills these pages with so much intricate detail and magic. The book goes through time and different stages/events in history.

I think we’re lucky in a way, a lot came before us, and with the ability to research so easily, we not only can write/draw from our own experiences and time but from the past too.

Don’t know what’s better then to learn and get inspired at the same time.

3. Perfect Tree Shapes by Frannerd

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Talking about drawing from your own experiences. Frannerd is one of my favourite illustrators and time again and again I go back to this illustrated travel journal she made of her trip to Paris and London.  It is the sweetest thing ever and she has such an adorable style. To be able to hold a piece made by your favourite illustrator and look it over is the most amazing feeling.

This little gem is a reminder to me that one of the most important sources if inspiration is actually ourselves and our experiences. So simply trying new things and creating new experiences for ourselves can be inspiring in itself. What a great excuse to visit that museum or gallery you wanted to for so long now.

2. Geek-Art: An Anthology by Thomas Olivri

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Totally geeking out over this book. This is the most amazing coffee table book for artists and illustrators. If you have it you’re going to want to look at it over and over again. This book is a collection of nearly a hundred illustrators, designers, photographers and artists who drew inspiration from popculture, cartoons, games, comics and movies.

If you’re a lover of Batman, Lego or Mario, well my friend there’s something in here you might want to see. Beautiful works that will inspire you to grab your pencils, or binge watch the entirety of the Star Wars trilogy. Hmm at least you’ll relax a bit.

1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Swear I read books without pictures too, here’s one. I stumbled across big magic after hearing Elizabeth talk in a TEDTalks video (this one here). TED videos are the bomb. After that I decided to get this book and I really enjoyed it. Here are two of my favourite quotes from the book:

“It’s a simple and generous rule of life that whatever you practice, you will improve at.”

“Do what you love to do, and do it with both seriousness and lightness. At least then you will know that you have tried and that, whatever the outcome, you have traveled a noble path.”

Through mixed reviews I have made my own mind that I like this book. It helps me keep going and reminds me why I’ve loved art ever since I was little; because it’s fun and expressive. Because even if at 30 I haven’t made it big with my art, I can say I’ve been true to myself and I’ve had fun. I create because I love to create, because I can’t imagine a world where I stop.

So quite a long second post I know but I hope it has helped even just one person to start thinking about where they can look for inspiration.  Do you have any books you find help you get out of your art block? Let me know in the comments section below I’d love to check them out.

 

 

So Simply Trying | to Blog

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Hi You. Welcome to my blog, you get the pleasure to read my first blog post, or rather I’d like to apologize for I have to warn you now I am not exactly a writer and it’s probably going to take me a few posts before I even feel remotely normal about the idea of having started this blog.

But its here now, and I’m going to give it my best shot. This blog has come to existence after I realized that I’d like a place to basically share some things which I can’t share on my Instagram Page (@juliawyzgowska). If you don’t know me (most of you won’t), I’m an Illustrator and Designer and that Instagram page has basically been somewhere where I share all my illustration, sketches and anything to do with my work basically.

Although I feel comfortable sharing some personal things on there, every now and again I will want to share something but I can’t help but feel that it doesn’t belong on there; this can be things like opinions on a non-arty product I’m using that I just love, a book I’m reading, or a problem I’m working through for example. So that’s where I hope this blog can come into play.

I called this blog ‘So Simply Trying’ as quite honestly that is all I ever do. Haha. I’m trying to work through this one life I’ve been given, and in that life I like to try new things, have new experiences, visit places, and create new projects, and I just want to share that. Cause sharing is caring, and honestly sometimes I want to rant a little.

If you don’t mind the occasional life rant, I also plan to post about art, expression, books, products I’m using (beauty, arty, foodie you name it) and will post DIY/ crafty tutorials too. So if any of that sounds like your cup of tea please stick around and press that ‘follow’ button. Till next time my friend.

Julia