GOODBYE 2013, HELLO 2014

I don't believe in resolutions. I believe in goals.

But I thought I would do a 2013 recap.
For me 2013 was the the year for learning, growth and direction.

It was the year I I fell out of love with Deesigngeek and didn't want to design any more, a scary concept as it is all I have done, 
it defined me.

It turned out it was the type of work I was creating that just wasn't rocking my world any more and I had to take it in a new direction, I tried not to be too hard on myself - sometimes to go forward you have to go back. 
So I got creative, I mean "picking up paintbrushes, pencils and cameras" creative and learnt how to have fun again rather than how much could I sell this for. 
I appreciate that money allows you to travel, buy art materials and have a nice life but does it motivate me? I have to be honest and say a big fat "nope".
For me to get excited about designing it has to bring some beautiful to the world and make someone feel good.

I realised I had put too much importance in work and I started to enjoy life, time with my friends and family and to achieve goals I never thought I would be able to like run a Half marathon. 
I also decided to live positively and started meditating, this helped me to see situations with clarity which had a great knock on effect on my design work and business planning. I had the idea of bringing everything back in-house under the DeesignGeek brand, Graphic design, Illustrating and Photography, it means learning a lot of new skills it will be worth it to ensure I'm creating a truly unique and original brand.

I have learnt to be honest with myself about what I want, the courage to go after it and to see mistakes as opportunities to learn.

2013 was all about learning but 2014 will be all about action, I can't wait!

Have a fabulous New Year! X



Finally putting my Christmas tree up makes me ecstatic! I absolutely love Christmas and thought I'd give you a sneaky peek at my very eclectic decorations.

When I pulled the tree away from the wall to take a better picture it threw some amazing, smoky style shadows on the wall which I got slightly obsessed about. I don't know how I managed to pick my three from about a hundred pics I took!



I am a happy and positive person and I get on with people. 
Although I dislike confrontation I don't avoid it at all costs and sometimes THAT thing happens that forces you to pull on your big girl pants and have that uncomfortable chat with THAT specific person.
It always astounds me how we still don't really know how to communicate with each other or articulate how we're feeling which means any difficult situations usually result in a shouting match and days of regret about how you reacted and wishing you could have changed the outcome.
A situation recently arose where I felt I was being professionally undermined, I tried to push the feeling away and listened to the little voices that were saying I was being to sensitive and not to worry about it, but I DID worry about it and I knew in my gut that I had to deal with it.
But how? I knew how I didn't want to approach it, not in an embarrassingly emotional way where you don't even get your point across.
The good thing was I had the weekend to think it over, and not in a hamster wheel style of worrying, replaying, worrying and replaying where no action is decided, but in a clear and concise manner.
This all sounded great in my head but I really didn't know where to start so I placed an SOS text to my friend Angela McDougal, I know about 3 Angela's so she is usually simply called "McDougal" and she is AMAZING! Everyone should have a McDougal in their life!
She made me aware of a conversation structuring technique called "TGROW" and it's so good I wanted to share it with everyone!

OK so before the conversation think about the structure it will have by following:
T: Topic. Both parties to agree on the topic that they will talk about. What it the main point of the conversation?
G: Goal. Agree on the goal that you want to achieve.
R: Reality. The reality of the situation of the situation. Each person will have their own perseption of the reality so they will have to discuss the present situation in detail and be specific.
O: Options. Brainstorm as many possible actions to move forward (I did this before I had the conversation so I was prepared). The important thing here is quantity NOT quality. Don't worry about how they would work or be implemented. You are being proactive by giving solutions.
W: Wrap up and when. The conversation must be converted into a decision of what action to take and the timescale of this action.
I have also noticed through conversations with friends that one reason people give for calling a meeting is because they feel another collegue is "incompetent", but before you take this perception personally it's important to know that competence is measured in three things: 1. Knowledge 2. Skills 3. Behaviour
It might be one element of your working style that is out of sync with the company or person but that can be worked on or they might actually be working incompetently.
All of this info definitely helped me take the emotional side out of the situation and come up with a clear and concise plan of action of how to move forward which ensured my positive and professional attitude remained intact. So next time you find yourself in an uncomfortable conversation TGROW it!
Hope it helps you as much as it helped me!



Autumn is such a short but beautiful season so I took some pics of the changing colour of the trees in Kelvingrove Park (one of my favourite places!) to remind me of this, I also tried to catch images of the leaves as they were falling but my shutter speed skills let me down, maybe next year.

I found some lovely quotes about Autumn too which are so true ~

“Autumn is the hardest season. The leaves are all falling, and they're falling like
they're falling in love with the ground.” 
― Andrea Gibson

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.” 
― Ernest HemingwayA Moveable Feast

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” 
― Albert Camus



I've recently started sketching and illustrating after 10 years solely creating computer generated graphics and I am absolutely loving it. I came across this quote on Pinterest (what did I do before Pinterest?!) and it made so much sense to me. 

It's important for me to continue to learn and to constantly create but I can be my own worst critic and over think a task to a standstill, to combat this I came up with a mantra of "Start It / Try It / Do It"! 
This has helped me to simply get started and see where it leads which feels like an accomplishment in itself. Writing goals down and sharing what I have been working on helps keep me focused and I will definitely be sharing some of the illustrations I have been working on.

I'd love to hear what you've always wanted to try and how you chase the fear away.




I'm just back from Berlin and it was AMAZING!!!
Any place that is packed with that much history and art that does a mean mulled wine definitely gets a special place in my heart.

I was there for 2 days and will definitely be going back now I have an idea of the different places to visit.
I took my brand new shiny SLR, here 
is a collection of my fave pictures, and I was a bit apprehensive about using it for the first time in a city like Berlin but I got over that pretty quickly and I'm so glad I did. It allowed me to show the gorgeous sights of Berlin exactly as they were.
We managed fit in some jumping jacks at the Brandenburg Gate, a tour of the Reichstag, Potsdamer Platz, Checkpoint Charlie, East Side Gallery, Anne Frank Museum, go up the TV Tower, visit the Holocaust Memorial where we star spotted Mary "Queen of Shops" Portas! (but couldn't ask for a photo which I totally regret) eat way too many Bratwurst and drink the best mulled wine.

Tschüs Berlin, See you soon!



Can you believe it's December already!
I meant to do a 6 month catch up on the goals I set my self at the start of 2013 but it looks like it's going to be a total recap.

I'm a fan of reflecting and as I look back over 2013 I feel so chuffed that I've met 3 out of the 5 goals I set myself, turns out writing them down does give you a better chance of them becoming a reality!

1. Take photography classes.
I signed up for a 10 week evening class in March and am so glad I did, I absolutely loved it.
The black and white picture of a twisted iron gate is my favourite.
At the start of every class the tutor explained what we would be learning which almost always sounded like a foreign language but after 3 hours I would like to say that it did actually made sense! A definite plus to learning a new skill was meeting a lovely bunch of people which made 3 hours every week fly by. 
I was lucky enough to get a SLR 600D Canon and my top goal for 2014 is to definitely take more (hopefully professional) pictures.

2. Run a Half Marathon.
Although I like to keep fit  I get bored just going to the gym so decided to run the Great Scottish Run Half Marathon in October. To start training for it I started running 5kms and took part in my first ever organised Park Run event in February, although I nearly died I completed it without stopping and did it in a better time than expected.
I then ran the Bupa Womens 10km Race and raised £255 for Breast Cancer Care, running for charity definitely gave me the boost I needed to finish. They definitely helped prepare me mentally and physically for the Half Marathon on 6th October but it was harder than I thought it would be although I'm proud to say that I didn't feel like crying until the 15th kilometre. The pic is me at the finish line and can't believe I'm actually smiling!

3. Travel More.
I honestly feel that travelling and visiting different places are good for my soul and at the start of the year I decided that no matter what I would visit some places that have been on my wish list forever. There are so many factors that can affect this goal - mainly money but I managed to visit Gothenburg at Easter which was gorgeous and sooo clean (still can't believe that's something that I keep saying when I think of the trip but it was!)
I have wanted to visit the culture and art soaked place that is Berlin for the longest time and am pleased to say it lived up to my expectations. I took a pic of the Brandenburg gate but I have so many other pics I'll have to put them in a post of their own.

Goals still on the list:
4. Create a T-Shirt design & 5.Create a Tote Bag design.
Goals 4 and 5 are sot of the same.
I absolutely love a T-Shirt and tote bag design and have always wanted to create my own range. However sometimes I have so many ideas I can't decide on just one and end up coming to a stand still.
I'm working on this procrastination so this goal will be moving soon.


The legend Jeff Koons

Ever since I saw Jeff Koon's silver balloon bunny sculpture in "The Art Book" I've been smitten with his work and his recent exhibition of balloon animals and an inflatable hulk definitely put a smile on my face.

His pieces make you question your first impression of the sculpture when you find out that the inflatable, air filled representations and actually made out of bronze, wood or stainless steel with mirror finish surfaces.

He states that they do not have any hidden meaning or representation and are just meant to be fun, which makes me love them even more.



          seems to have done it all so far in her 13 year career. Being a graphic designer can mean that you have to have illustrator and photography feathers to your hat but she's managed to study interior design, advertising, illustration AND graphic design. 
Soon after starting an interior design course she realised she preferred graphic design. She also included the illustrations that she started drawing as a hobby into the designs. After graduating she also co founded "What If", a lifestyle brand that saw her illustrations applied to silk scarves and cushion covers with Sony and MTV among her commercial clients.

This lady is such an inspiration but how does she manage to find time to create such a varied portfolio? She says ~

"Life need's a balance between doing something that makes money so you can live and something that makes you feel alive. I like to collaborate with good people and some of them work in different creative fields. I do it for fun and to improve myself. I think illustration can be applied to so many media.
It gives you a really different feel than seeing them on paper. 
When I have free time I do some personal work, experiment and collaborate."

I absolutely love her attitude because it inspires you to also create designs for wall murals and fabric.



While we were on the roof taking pictures of the panoramic views in this weeks photography class we also had to take a "squinty" picture. That sort of goes against the whole point in taking pictures right?
It was to use in a Photoshop tutorial so away I went taking pictures at an angle to use later. We then took the image into Photoshop, copied, flipped and rotated the single image until it looked like the picture above.
What a great technique and one I'll definitely be using more of.


This week in photography class we went up to the roof of the 13 floor college to take pictures of the view. We were lucky it was such a gorgeous day and I think you can tell this is a rare occurance in Glasgow due to the slightly obsessive way I try to get as much of the blue sky in the frame as possible. The brief we were given before we started shooting was to take some pictures that could be stitched together to produce a panoramic image and a "squinty" picture that we could use in a photoshop experiment.

I always think that if we had more days of sunshine this city would have it all and looking at these images confirmed this for me. They instantly remind me of the grid structure of the roads and street's in New York and Barcelona. I took some shots looking straight at the sun and although I've never been something about the resulting image makes me think of San Fransisco.
What do you think?



My second tattoo has been in the planning stages for at least 10 years, what can I say I work better to a deadline and when there is no time limit I can be a little bit of a procrastinator. I am constantly on the look out for symbols, phrases and images that represent my values and outlook on life that I could apply to a tattoo. However every once in a while I'll see a design that takes my breath away and I think maybe that's how the decision should be made.
This happened when I stumbled across the modern art tattoos by the brooklyn based tattooist Amanda Wachob on the art and design blog "Design Milk".
I absolutely love the free and impressionist style of them and definitely think this is the way forward for me.
Check out more examples of her work here ~ 



I can finally show you the black and white film pictures I took in week 5.
My main aim was to get them in focus but I'm really pleased with how they turned out, my favourites were the close up images of doors, bridges and cobbled streets. The totally beautiful depth that b
lack and white film adds and  the mystery of how they'll turn out made me fall in love with it.



Week 5:
So I thought last week's photography class was excellent and then I discovered film photography and instantly fell in love with it.
Ok so maybe at the start of the class I was like "whaddyamean we won't be able to check our pictures when we've taken them?!?" you know to check they're at least in focus.
It was a great way to test how much technical info you had taken in over the last few weeks so we loaded our B/W film and off we went to the clydeside to take our pics. We only had 36 pics in a roll of film and as we usually take about 136 with a digital camera I did feel a bit restricted but as you're taking twice as long to take the image I found myself on 26 and struggling to finish the roll. When we'd finished we then handed it into the college lab to create our negatives for us to pick up next week. Can't wait to see them!

Week 6:
This week we picked up our negatives and some photographic paper and headed off to the dark room. After 3 hours you're eyes do get used to it but when you leave it you definitely have "mole eyes".
We learnt how to use the light projectors and test how much exposure we should apply through the negative. After processing test strips and washing the prints in the chemical baths we only had time to create 3 prints that we left to dry and will pick up next week.

I can't wait to see what they look like and Ill post them here to let you have a peek too.



I was a bit of a tomboy when I was little and became totally obsessed with skateboarding, so I fell a little bit in love with these guitars when I saw them.

They are handmade in a Buenos Aires workshop by an argentinian luthier Ezequiel Galasso and the pro skateboarder Gianfranco de Gennaro Gilmour from reclaimed skateboards that are wired up with volume knobs and whammy bars. In the throw away society that we live in these guys definitely show us that you can always find a use for an item and make it even more beautiful.



To me reading is as important as breathing. I ALWAYS have a book in my bag even if I'm only going on a 10 minute train journey. I would say I'm probably just as big a BookGeek as I am a DeesignGeek. 

A book I have just finished reading is "Wonder" by RJ Palacio after it was recommended in The Metro newspaper.
It is one of those books that you keep thinking about long after you've put it down.
It introduces you to the main character August, nicknamed Auggie, who is 10 and has been home schooled due to the 27 operations he has had to correct severe craniofacial abnormalities. Straight off it sounds like some deep and heavy material to read especially as August introduces himself by saying ~
"I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse" but it is the most uplifting book I have read and instils the belief that human kindness and "good" people will prevail even when situations feel hopeless.

The external characteristics you imagine fade as you read on and his courage and kindness in the face of school bullies and embarrassed siblings shines through.

He is tested as he starts school for the first time, with even his dad stating he'll be like "a lamb to the slaughter", and meets his fellow classmates, some have been briefed on his condition and asked to look after him and some sit and talk to him when they see him sitting on his own and of course the school bully who manages to turn his whole year against him.
The beauty of this book was how it evoked unexpected bouts of sympathy for example the school bully, when his mum speaks to the headmaster about the fact that Auggie should be in a special needs school even though there is nothing mentally or emotionally wrong with him - he just looks different is when you realise he is only acting the way he has been "guided".

It not only looks at how Auggie copes with peoples reaction but how his new friends are affected by just associating with him. Each character narrates their own chapters so you get their take on each situation as well as Auggie's, which put a great spin on the story.

Although they are only ten you can see how the choices the characters make will shape them into the adults they will become. 



This weeks photography class was all about panoramic images and how to create this in Photoshop with my favourite "tool" ever; Photomerge! This is where you import 5 or 6 images and click "Photomerge" and it "stitches" all your images together for you.
First of all we had to get the photos so we headed to the Glasgow Necropolis, (a Victorian cemete
ry) that sits on a hill and has amazing views of the city.
This week was pretty important to get our settings correct to suit the light and objects as next week we are working with black and white FILM!
Yeah that's right no option to flick through the images you've taken and delete the ones that aren't. Eek!
This week I was pretty pleased to finally get my head around setting the right exposure, it helped that the evenings are a lot lighter than they were when we started back March. The last image is actually 6 images stitched together and this was an excellent class.



I might be giving away my age here but I used to love watching Wayne Hemingway in the fashion section on The Big Breakfast (I've mentioned this to younger friends and have been met with blank stare and the question "What was the Big Breakfast?" You know Zig and Zag, Johny and Denise, More Tea Vicar?!?! No? ok I'll move on).
So when my friend asked if I wanted to see him speak at the Old Fruit Market about his 30 years experience in the design industry I was like "Hell yeah"!
He is probably most famous for founding the global fashion label "Red or Dead" where he started on a stall in Camden Market and brought an affordable designer label to the high street and when he sold it he then started the multi discipline design studio Hemingway Design 
designing everything from clothes to houses.
His down to earth attitude and advice to research your market but then "just go for it" really hit home with me and I loved how even after 30 years as a designer he still wouldn't class himself as one which he feels helps him to remain adaptable moving between architecture, digital and advertising projects. This along with the belief that you make your own luck and to do business with people you like seems to be THEE winning combination for a successful career.
I thought he was great before I went to see him and came away totally inspired and loving him even more after it. 



It's week 3 of my photography class already and it was all about composition, oh and exposure as always. We managed to get outside and the aim of this weeks class was to take pictures of objects that looked like letters and to create a word out of the letters we collected.
I created the word "Glasgow" and found that the letter "G" is really hard to find, that's why I had to feature an actual letter "G", well we were on a time limit.
It was a really great exercise to get you thinking about making the shot look different and a bit more creative.



I have been meaning to write this post for ages but you know how it is, life and work happen.
So for Easter CJ and I were invited to his little cousins Christening in Gothenburg. His uncle has stayed there for 13 years so he has been over about 10 times but I've never been and it's one place that's on my list to go to. 
It just so happened to fall on our 4th anniversary so it was a no brainer. We booked our 6.30am flights, packed our bags and jetted off at 4am in the morning eek!
The weekend was a bit of everything, a lovely "couplely" couple of days and nights (is that even a word?) with some family stuff with 7 other people.
It was everything I thought it would be! It's so cool, clean and modern with a vintage twist.
We stayed at the gorgeous Radisson Blu in Gothenburg for 2 nights and then headed to Lindome for the Christening and stayed here for the rest of the trip.
There are tons of things I didn't take pictures of and I really want to get better at recording moments as well as enjoying them at the time. When I go to a place I try and fit in some culture as well as eating and drinking and try and ignore the 16year old voice in my head "but museums are boring!!!"
We made it to the Rohsska Museum, a fashion and product design museum which was great and had dresses by Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen on show. They constantly rotate and update their exhibitions and the Coco Chanel exhibit had just been moved which would have been amazing to see.

When we had done the "culture" stuff it was time for some "nightlife" stuff and the hotel bar made amazing cocktails that we tried before we went out, my favourite was definitely a tasty (but dangerous) alcoholic strawberry milkshake.
One thing I noticed is that everyone is stunningly gorgeous but there is no pretentiousness which is nice and ensures the bars are nice and relaxed too. We found a sort of gentleman/supper club place, a Kino bar and a place called Cicero and on our last night w
e met up with some friends in Gothenburg who took us to an app bar called Pincho's where we snacked on tapas and cava that you order with your phone and pick them up when you get the alert, so much fun. As we were staying at Lindome just outside of Gothenburg we headed off for the last bus. It was great to see the city but spend some time in a little town aswell.

I tried to show a mixture of pictures but when I started looking through them I realised I am slightly obsessed with trams and fish for some reason which I''ll have to keep in mind in future. For some reason I was totally fried with work before I went away and this trip came at exactly the right time, it is such a chilled and gorgeous city I came back totally relaxed and inspired. Just what I needed and I'll definitely be going back.



This week we were working in the studio focusing on white balance and the depth of field. 
This is basically making sure anything that's white looks white in the image and creating the effect where the object that's closest to the lens is in focus but the object in the background is blurred.
There's so many things to take into account when your taking a photo, even the temperature of the light that is being used can effect the image but it was a really interesting class working with the focus, shadows and light.



How nice is it to get things in the post other than bills?
My friend first told me about GlossyBox, a service that you pay a 
monthly subscription to receive 5 beauty samples wrapped in a beautiful box straight to your door. The samples are a mystery so it's like a suprise gift to yourself.
Sign me up I thought and as my very first GlossyBox dropped in my letterbox I wasn't disappointed. 

The theme was City Chic and contained; 

Nails Inc nail varnish
Jelly Pong Pong Lip Blush
Tresemme Hairspray
Juicy Couture "Couture La La"
Elizabeth Arden Eight hour Cream

The lip blush and nail polish was red, perfect statement colours that I always add to brighten up my outfit and day. I was even glad of the Hairspray as I had just ran out and it was even my usual brand. Result!
To be honest I wasn't sure about the Couture La La perfume but it turned out to be a lovely light spring scent.
And last but not least I found some Elizabeth Arden in there too!

And that's not all, as well as the 5 products they included some stickers and a little Travel Book with facts and places to go in some main cities like London, New York and Stockholm. I was quite excited about this as I am heading to Copenhagen for Easter and although it wasn't mentioned it was nice to see some pics of Sweden to get me in the holiday mood.

Can't wait to see what's in the April Box!



I've always wanted to take better pictures and at the start of the year I made it one of my goals to learn how. So I booked myself on an photography evening course for beginners in January that started in March and before I knew it I'd been to 2 classes!
I wasn't sure whether I should post the images I took as they are nowhere near how I want them to look but you have to start somewhere so here they are.