Category Archives: I heart the Arts

In which the evenings are getting lighter and my life plan changes somewhat

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2013 so far feels like it’s just gone by in this whirl – I can’t believe we’re into March already. The daffodils in the shops, the birds tweeting their little hearts out and the evenings getting tantalisingly lighter show that winter is definitely on its way out, thank goodness.

Apart from rhapsodising about Australia and Chile, and trying to keep warm in some very chilly weather, the last few weeks have been spent doing some very nice things: two wedding photoshoots, a trip to see friends in Oxford, celebrating our goddaughter’s fifth birthday with a “pirates and princesses party” (we wore full fancy dress, no other adults dressed up, cue much embarrassment), boring two sets of friends with photos from our trip (but accompanied by wine to sweeten the deal), playing ping pong on the city’s outdoor tables and getting a lot better at front crawl to the extent that I finally beat S in a race. We’ve also been enjoying four day weekends due to our part time working, although that finally came to an end this week as S was asked to become permanent in the part time role he was doing, which is great for his ego and our bank balance but not so good for lie-ins and impromptu kitchen DIY.

And they’re going to end for me, too, very soon: my biggest news is that I have a new job! The irony is that it’s one I didn’t intend to, you know, actually get – I applied to see how far I could go and then it all just seemed to happen by accident. (I think that’s the way to apply for jobs, not really mind too much one way or t’other, as you’re then really relaxed in the interview, rather than stressing for days beforehand about the answers to their questions.)

From the start of May, I’m going to be the editor of a national craft magazine, one that has actual ABC figures and gives away free gifts on the front cover. It’s a maternity cover position, so only for ten months, but it is full time. That’s the part of it that I really didn’t mean to go for: I was ideally looking for a two day a week job to complement my freelance work, so ending up with five days a week of work was never really in the plan. But hey, when life hands you a needle, you make some stitches with it and hope for the best. And it is the most amazing opportunity in terms of experience, as I’ve never before worked on a magazine that people actually hand over money for.

When my time there is up, the plan is to go back to my portfolio working as I enjoy it too much to give it all up. I’m also planning to keep freelancing where possible so I can keep the contacts I’ve made and not have to start again next year. My mum – a complete legend – may take on some of my clients in this interim period, something she is actually really excited about, after enjoying doing it for me when I was away last year.

(As an aside: I met my parents and brother for dinner in London this week and prefaced my announcement about the job with the phrase “I have some news!” I guess, as a 30 year old woman, I shouldn’t be surprised that the first two comments out of their mouths were “you’ve sold the house!” followed by “you’re pregnant!”)

After over four years of part time and freelance working, it’s going to be extremely strange to have to go to the same desk in the same office for five consecutive days EVERY WEEK, and I know it’s not going to be easy at first. But at least I have the memory that I have done it before for five years, before I got seduced by the idea of organising my own time and being able to work in my PJs. (Ahem, not that I do that…)

So while my life plan has gone slightly off course, to paraphrase Max Ehrmann, I think everything is unfolding exactly as it should.

In which weddings feature again

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A few weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to produce and edit a 40 page wedding supplement for a local magazine. As you can imagine, it didn’t take a lot of persuading for me to say yes! As well as writing and editing, I also have to direct the cover photoshoot which is taking place on Monday, so for the last few days I’ve been up to my eyeballs in nuptial details. Until this lunchtime we had no dress for the bride, which was slightly worrying, but luckily that is all sorted now and the only thing lacking is a make up artist. Anyone out there who’s free on Monday and fancies dropping by with their mascara?!

There is an incredibly tight turnaround for everything to be finished, so once the shoot is over I will be chained to my desk in order to get all the copy completed in time. Consequently expect some deafening blog silence until it’s all gone to press.

See you on the other side…

In which I cheat on Bristol

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I always thought that my heart was firmly given over to Bristol, but after visiting Brighton last weekend, I think I am in love…

From here

From here

From here

The last time I was in Brighton was over ten years ago for a day out with my mom, so it’s been quite a while, and is probably the reason why I had forgotten what a brilliant place it is. I was there for non-leisure purposes this time around, as the theatre company I work for (have I mentioned I work for a children’s theatre company? If I haven’t, I work for a children’s theatre company as a freelance administrator and tour booker) was opening its new show as part of the Brighton Festival.

It was a super busy three days, and most of my views of the city were seen whilst running from the venue to Maplins to the venue to a cafe to Argos to the venue again, and I was forced to be up before 8am on all three mornings in order to get things done. But delicious pho here, the buying of a new dress and necklace from the Lanes (crazy cat lady alert! They’re both feline-patterned!), and a walk on the pier as the sun was setting more than made up for it.  Best of all, after a decade of not visiting, I get to go back again in October for my friend’s hen do. When there will definitely be more cocktails and far fewer trips to electrical stores. Well, I hope so. Otherwise it’s going to be one bizarre farewell to single life.

In which there are some numbers

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11: the hour at which there has been a reprieve and I still have a job, albeit a different role. It’s quite complicated (and boring) to go into but basically the wolf is away from the door, for now at least.

695: number of organisations successful in gaining National Portfolio Organisation funding by Arts Council England versus the 638 who were unsuccessful. Of these, 206 who previously had this funding have now lost it, and 110 new organisations have gained it. As someone who has worked for 4 ACE-supported organisations in my career, and had dealings with many others, it’s been interesting to see who got funding and who didn’t, and who, after years of support, have been cut completely. One company I used to work for was cut 100%. Another I still work for in a freelance capacity got its funding, plus an uplift. So it’s a mixed bag of emotions at the moment. The Twittersphere (is that even a word?) is going crazy right now.

22: articles and features I sub edited for the wedding magazine yesterday. If you want to know about summer 2011 wedding trends, I am your woman.

0: the number of teachers who remembered me when I went back to my old school on Saturday for a fundraising event (although 2 did remember my brother). To put this into context, though, I left this school when I was 13 after only 3 years, and teachers don’t tend to remember pupils in the lower years.

3: people at the event who, rather bizarrely and completely unexpectedly, said that they’d seen me in the wedding magazine. Fame at last! (At least in the West Country.)

2: bottles of wine (one pink fizz, one red) drunk by me and the lovely Miss W after the event whilst catching up and reminiscing in her mum’s house.

3: cups of tea and coffee I drank to try and combat my vicious wine-induced hangover the next day.

2.5: hours it took me to read our latest book club novel, Rupture by Simon Lelic, as I could.not.put.it.down.

27: approximately the number of  daffodils out in the garden, which are making everything much more spring-like and lovely. Roll on the sunshine!