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Three different ways to be mindful

What does the National Gallery, Thorpe Park and the sea have in common? Answer? Ways I’ve found to manage my hormone imbalance by being mindful, and fully in the moment I’m in. Did you know that we only spend *six days!* of our life in the present…the rest are scarily spent in the past or in the future. But…it is possible to see your whole life in HD after having a crappy TV, so to speak. This has been my experience.

I’ve  been studying and practicing mindfulness for over a year now. To my amazement, I have found it to be a really effective method to ward off depression when my hormone condition makes days a bit ‘wobbly’.

My study began with reading Ruby Wax’s book, ‘Sane New World’, where she shows and explains how mindfulness works for her, in the brain and how to do it. From there, I had some sessions with mindfulness coach, Shaun Lambert. He showed me how to ‘notice’ thoughts and realise they are not events. To take a step back, to consider, before leaping in.

From there, I read his 40-day study book, ‘Book of Sparks’, which really cemented this new way of thinking. I then attended MCBT (Mindfulness Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) with a wonderful lady, Georgina, at my local hospital. This required an hour’s study every day.

If you’ve tried this stuff and it didn’t work, this is the key – the practice. I have found that this new way of being is so firmly rooted that I don’t have to think about it.

When wobbly days have come, instead of going, ‘Oh no, I’m going to be ill for three months…there goes the summer’, it’s more like, ‘Mm, that’s interesting. Ok. I’m feeling a little nervous but that’s ok. How about I take some breaths, go and see someone, do something I enjoy or do a mindfulness sitting?’

And to my amazement, over six seperate days in the last few months, the first whispers of ‘black dog’, had gone by the following morning.

So, back to my opener. Three things I have done recently where I have been fully present, all five senses taken up by the thing I was experiencing.

The first was Thorpe Park. I had a somewhat stressful day there recently for various reasons but I could forget all that the moment I strapped in to Stealth, took my hands off the restraints and spent thirteen seconds of bliss racing, my stomach lifting, wind in my hair, amazing view then jolting to a halt. I felt refreshed, and able to carry on with the day. Here’s some brave soul who filmed it (I wouldn’t do that!)

 

The second, was going to ‘Soundscapes’, the fantastic exhibition at the National Gallery. Six sound artists chose paintings in the collection, including Holbein and Cezanne, and through study and meditation, created sound art to accompany the piece. The poster read, ‘Hear the painting, see the sound’. The result was me seeing things in paintings and techniques I’d never noticed before.

'Coastal Scene' by Theo van Rysselberghe, soundscape, 'Ultramarine', by Jamie xx, at the National Gallery
‘Coastal Scene’ by Theo van Rysselberghe, soundscape, ‘Ultramarine’, by Jamie xx, at the National Gallery

My favourite piece by a mile was the painting, ‘Coastal Scene‘, by Theo van Rysselberghe and the soundscape, ‘Ultramarine’, by Jamie XX. The sound artist echoed the technique of pointilism by creating music that kind of turned to dots and marks, too, as you approached the painting. It was truely mesmorising and I could have been there all day. I wish I could have this piece in my house!

The third…was jumping in the sea with all my clothes on. Mindfulness means being fully present, not thinking about the future or the past. I went to visit my lovely friend Natalie in Brighton last Saturday, when it was so very hot. We finally reached the glimmering, sparkly sea and got that gust of salt air in our lungs. Neither of us had swimming costumes on, but we kind of looked at eachother and said, ‘Shall we?’ We egged each other on and waded into the water and finally made the leap, it was so refreshing and wonderful to just be floating, supported and looking up at the blue sky and listening to the sound of pebbles being washed up and down the slope by the waves. Here is a little video my hubby, Mike made of the moment.

 

I cannot recommend mindfulness highly enough. It has changed my life. I am calmer, more measured, more focused, assertive and more present. It has warded off the black dog! Here are some other activities I’ve found helpful to be mindful:

  • baking
  • volunteering
  • jigsaws
  • Heat Magazine and chocolate (insert your ‘guilty’ pleasure in here!’
  • doing my nails
  • talking to a dear friend
  • gardening
  • walking
  • flower arranging
  • being creative
  • eating
  • sorting
  • making mint tea from scratch
  • just. being. silent. (very hard for me, that one!)
  • writing this blog post (mmm, isn’t that inception, or something??)

So, there’s my two pence worth. I am most happy to talk to you more about mindfulness if this has piqued your interest. I hope I am a good advert, for those who have known me a while! Please do let me know your thoughts, tips and tricks in the comments.

Katie.

 

Nearly-new Wedding Dresses for sale at Harrow Mind Charity Shop (while stocks last)

24th August – Update

The dresses are now an amazing, bargain-ous £50 each. There aren’t many left now and will be taken off the shop floor soon so make sure you have a look before they’re gone.

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10th June – Update

An amazing lady has come in and bought ten, yes ten dresses! And the story is all over the Harrow Times…

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20th May – Update.

Two dresses have now been sold; so curious to who, and for what kind of wedding!

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Calling all bargain-hunting brides – how does a display model wedding dress worth £700 for £100 sound to you? Interesting? All you need to do is get to Mind Charity Shop in Harrow and your purchase will help a third of the female population, too.

A generous lady from the London Bridal Boutique, ‘Pearl Bridal’, has donated thirty wedding dresses to Mind Charity Shop in Harrow. They are from her display range and are just over a year old.

So…you can get a nearly-new wedding dress and give a substantial sum to Mind, who help people in the UK with mental health problems; one in three women you know will suffer. Why not give something back on your big day?

If you are interested in the dresses for yourself or someone else, here is some useful information:

  • The dresses have labels still attached.
  • Sizes range from 6 to 20
  • Prices start at £100 and maximum price is £200. The original dresses were sold for around £700 to £800.
  • There are also some brand-new dresses that are wrapped in plastic
  • The only thing is that they may need a dry-clean before use.

You can also find shoes, jewellery, outfits for the Mother-of-the-Bride and outfits for wedding guests.

Below are some basic pictures of some of the dresses on display, in size 10 and 12 (a bride to be asked for these!). If you are interested in a particular dress, then please contact the Mind Charity Shop in Harrow, on 020 3759 8303.

You are most welcome to come into the store and try them on. It’s easy to get to Harrow, just hop on the Metropolitan line, get out at Harrow on the Hill and the Mind Charity Shop is on College Road, just next to the Post Office.

For folk who follow my blog (and general movements!) you may or may not know that I am very proud to volunteer with Mind and hope to use my skills in any way to help them raise crucial funds for mental health work (which includes writing this post and hoping my lovely supporters will share it to help Mind – we could raise well over £3,000 if we sell all these dresses!)

Size 10 Wedding Dress in Dusky Pink at Mind Charity Shop in Harrow
Size 10 Wedding Dress in Dusky Pink at Mind Charity Shop in Harrow
Size 10 Halterneck Wedding Dress at Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 10 Halterneck Wedding Dress at Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 Wedding Dress with Embellishments from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 Wedding Dress with Embellishments from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 Dramatic Wedding Dress from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 Dramatic Wedding Dress from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 10 Strapless Wedding Dress with Lace Detail from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 10 Strapless Wedding Dress with Lace Detail from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 vintage-esque Wedding Dress with Collar Detail from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 vintage-esque Wedding Dress with Collar Detail from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 10 Strapless Wedding Dress with Layered Lace Detail, from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 10 Strapless Wedding Dress with Layered Lace Detail, from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.

There are many other styles and sizes, in a range of styles. Please come and have a look and grab yourself a bargain.

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Lots of dresses with different styles and finishes are available

Reflections from Ffald y Brenin, 2015.

Something New
Something New

Much like a good wine or cheese I’ve been ‘letting my thoughts mature’ before posting about my wonderful retreat at Ffald y Brenin in Wales last week.

(N.B. Disclosure…there’s ‘God chat’ in this post as it’s kinda my diary/ milestone recording too, please feel free not to read if this would upset you 🙂 )

The main message I feel I received was about liberty and freedom. I expected the time away to be quite intense and tearful, but in fact it was anything but.

I found myself led by people I met (and was meant to meet), the landscape, passionate and inspiring chats with Mike over lamb shanks and picking up flotsam and jetsam on a sandy beach with whirls of changing, golden sand.

Footsteps in the Sand
Footsteps in the Sand

We’d spent a day at the prayer retreat in the chapel and heard a fantastic message on freedom and how some people can try to trap us with burdens but in fact we are not beholden to any human. I found myself studying Isaiah 43, which talks about leaving the past behind and looking towards the future. (Sounds rather a lot like mindfulness to me!)

Roy, the pastor, told a story of a gate at Ffald y Brenin, which was between the path from the house to the cross on the hill. It had fallen down and Roy felt that it meant the path is open. There’s no gate! No barrier.

The Gate is Open
The Gate is Open

So, after a great day, rather than staying, and feeling like I needed to pull a ‘holy face’ and stay there all day, I wanted to walk along the beach and talk to ‘him upstairs’ there. I really enjoyed padding over the sand and picking up rope and wood for some future art piece. I didn’t have to stay in the chapel and read fifty Psalms!

Here’s some pictures of the chapel at Ffald y Brenin and the beautiful countryside around it:

Snowy road to Ffald y Brenin
Snowy road to Ffald y Brenin
Ffald y Brenin Chapel
Ffald y Brenin Chapel
Stunning Newport Estuarty
Stunning Newport Estuary
Walking along Newport Beach
Walking along Newport Beach

The next day, I wasn’t sure what to expect, going to Ffald y Brenin with no agenda. I needn’t have worried. After starting the day with a delicious fry up in our B&B I settled down in the common room and started a jigsaw.

Breakfast
Breakfast
Jigsaw and a View
Jigsaw and a View

I met just the people I was meant to meet. A lady who was going through similar things to me around wanting kids (and she worked in media!) and a lovely, lovely lady called Rebecca, who we shared our lunch with and we chatted about mindfulness (after folk gave us their lunch yesterday.)

Mike met someone he was meant to meet, too.

After lunch, I wondered if I *should* go for a walk. I thought it through and decided I *did* want to go. As I wandered up to the fields I passed this pond, which I noticed was half-frozen.

Half Frozen Pond
Half Frozen Pond

I walked on past a wooden fort, that looked like a prison to me. (Sorry, no photo). Then up the hill, through the mud, into a stunning, open field, that looked out over the valley and to the cross on the hill. I felt like this was a metaphor: the half-thawed pond was like me, a work in progress, but having been freed from things here. The fort represented the things and people that had trapped me. The field represented a ‘huge, open space’, which I was now free to run around, explore and enjoy.

An Open Space
An Open Space

I left feeling, well, kind of like, ‘I’m not quite sure what’s happened, but *something* has!’, if that makes any sense? I feel empowered, free to keep on working with the causes I’m passionate about and fighting for justice, even if there’s a cost.

I brought home with me the daily prayer book, which has a morning, midday and evening prayer. I plan to carry this on, s-l-o-w-l-y, at home.

Ffald y Brenin Daily Prayer Book
Ffald y Brenin Daily Prayer Book

I want to come back here every year.

Time to Talk Coffee and Pamper morning: it’s time to end mental health discrimination.

Michelle ready to receive guests.
Michelle ready to receive guests.

On the 5th February, myself and my friend Michelle Kay (a stress management coach) hosted a ‘Coffee and Pamper’ morning, as part of the national ‘Time to Talk’ day. This is an initiative from Time to Change, whose aim is to end mental health discrimination, through giving people a chance to be educated about  mental health by learning from folk with ‘lived experience’.

I am extremely proud to be a Time to Change champion, which means I talk at events and stand at stalls to answer any question about mental health.

So, I hosted this event in my home to a) educate those who might not know about mental health illness and b) to pamper those who are having a tough time with it.

I was delighted to welcome folk to enjoy tea, cake, warmth (!) and some gentle prompts to talk about mental health illness. Time to Talk have fantastic resources, including this thingy we used to play with at school. Can’t remember the name!

Gill holds up her 'conversation starter'.
Gill holds up her ‘conversation starter’.

Michelle gave a fantastic talk about stress, it’s causes and how to reduce it. She led a relaxation time that was so relaxing, Barry and Marcia fell asleep!

We all had some good chats about different aspects of mental health, such as insomnia, being a carer, mindfulness, managing anxiety and relaxing.

I was really happy to do Gill and Marcia’s nails, to give them a taster of how it can be a relaxing experience.

Gill is pleased with her sparkly nails!
Gill is pleased with her sparkly nails!
Marcia is also pleased with her nails...and manicure.
Marcia is also pleased with her nails…and manicure.
John and Barry enjoy a Hot Cross Bun.
John and Barry enjoy a Hot Cross Bun.
Martin is the newest Time to Change advocate.
Martin is the newest Time to Change advocate.
Jason enjoys the cake.
Jason enjoys the cake.
Reece talks about his experiences.
Reece talks about his experiences.
David enjoys a sit down, cuppa and cake.
David enjoys a sit down, cuppa and cake.

Michelle was on hand next door to give folk relaxing chair massages. Reports were they were super relaxing. I can vouch for that!

Ahhh...Katie enjoys Michelle's relaxing chair massage.
Ahhh…Katie enjoys Michelle’s relaxing chair massage.

So in conclusion, a great day was had by all. People said they’d love events like this more often. If you’d like to find out more about Time to Talk and Time to Change, go to their website, here.

And…stop. Now what?

Welcoming Chapel Light
Welcoming Chapel Light

Today I write from snowy Wales. I’m on retreat, visiting a mysterious place called Ffald y Brenin, a Christian healing community, on the recommendation of my good friend, Rupal.

Me and my husband Mike drove down from Harrow yesterday and the peace and quiet still takes some getting used to. As we reached Dinas Cross, we drove down a road so narrow that there was about a centimetre of space on either side and we switched off the engine and listened to the bubbling brook. It’s snowed today and I enjoyed immensely the sound your boots make (kind of squeaky) when you tread in freshly fallen snow.

These observations…I might have missed them before my study of mindfulness. I used to come on retreat with an agenda, a plan, etc, but here…well, I’m just here. Don’t know what’s going to happen, but that’s okay. I can just be, one moment at a time.

I found myself drawn to this verse from Proverbs 31 again, this is the Message version:

A good woman is hard to find,
    and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
    and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
    all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
    and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
    and brings back exotic surprises.
She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast
    for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
    then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
    rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
    is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
    diligent in homemaking.
She’s quick to assist anyone in need,
    reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;
    their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
    and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
    when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
    brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
    and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
    and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
    and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
    her husband joins in with words of praise:
“Many women have done wonderful things,
    but you’ve outclassed them all!”
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
    The woman to be admired and praised
    is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
    Festoon her life with praises!

I’ve come to this place to just give up on *my* plans for my life, for a family etc and *gulp*…this feels a bit like ‘coming out’ ;),  give them to Jesus. On paper, our dream of having our own children, combined with my hormone problems, looks unlikely, but I know that with God, ‘All things are possible’. So, here I am, for three days, to wait. And see.

The above verse outlines a ‘Good wife’ and I can see some of myself in this verse (and Mike agrees 🙂 ), as well as some things to work towards.

Here’s some pictures of this beautiful place, covered in freshly fallen snow.

Snowy peaks in Wales
Snowy peaks in Wales
Welcoming Chapel Light at Ffald y Brenin
Welcoming Chapel Light at Ffald y Brenin
Ffald y Brenin Reception
Ffald y Brenin Reception
Arriving at Ffayl y Brenin
Arriving at Ffayl y Brenin

 

 

 

 

 

I like to code it, code it…

Joy Factory Button

 

 

Been having fun today learning how to make buttons. I must confess this post is part of my learning as I need it online at the right size so I can have an html. for a button on Paypal…let’s see if it works!

– Katie.

Update: 29th Jan…

Been playing around with vector as my hubby said it looked nothing like a hand, having problems getting button to upload to Paypal, going to call them…

 

Why a Merlin Annual Pass is a better buy than shoes…

My name is Katie Moritz….and I am a rollercoaster addict. I would far rather buy a Merlin Annual Pass (to get into Alton Towers, Blackpool Tower, Thorpe Park, Chessington, Sealife  Centres, Madame Tussauds, Legoland, Windsor Castle, the London Eye…and the dungeons but I’m too scared to go in there) than buy, say, two pairs of boots from Clarks (well, more like four when bought in sale, like I do!)

Why may you ask? Well.

For some people, a new pair of shoes or a dress will cheer them up on a bad day. I know I’ve been there. But, that’s not the most effective combatter of stress for me.

For me, it’s a drop from a height! As some readers know, I am on a journey (sorry to use an X-Factor cliché) with the hormone imbalance I’ve been dealing with, and part of this is doing all I can to ‘top myself up’ in the times when I’m not clinically depressed and anxious. I need as many doses of Endorphins and Serotonin (happy hormones) to help fight the hormones that create the low moods. So my thinking went thus.

What about when I have a stressful day, I can just take off and go on Stealth at Thorpe Park a few times? I used to do this in a previous job with toil time on the way home. So, now with my Merlin Pass, I can do just that.

I’ve learnt that stress physically seizes up our body thanks to adrenilin (ancient reflex of fight or flight when we feel in danger) and we need to do something relaxing to drain our muscles from the blood they receive to run away from that tiger (or that car that just cut you up, that email or that call from a family member)

So…going on roller coasters relaxes me. I’ve loved going fast as long as I can remember – running down hills, skiing (lucky me), go-carting down our drive, flumes and I remember the fateful day I went to Thorpe Park and went on ‘Loggers Leap’ that very first time.

The rest, as they say, was history. Ever since then, I’ve been to theme parks whenever I have the chance – at every birthday with Sall, Ellie, Sadie and Jane, Blackpool ‘The Big One’ on TV with Sall, Thorpe Park and Alton Towers with Jo and Rach and now…Alton Towers with Margaret and James.

I met Margaret, quite by chance, on the Chiltern Railway into London. Her husband, John, was sitting next to her, wearing a ‘Smiler’ hat (the new roller coaster at Alton Towers) and I asked if he’d been on the ride. Now, John and Margaret are, *mature*, shall we say.

I was surprised when Margaret chirped in, saying, ‘No, it’s me, I bought it for John!’ For the rest of the journey me and Margaret chatted about how much we loved roller coasters, and John and my husband Mike, how much they didn’t really love them!

Margaret and I exchanged numbers, a few months later we emailed to arrange a trip, and off we went to Alton Towers! I felt excited and slightly scared about going away with a lady I’d just met, but now I live one day at a time, or ‘Manna Living’ as I call it (it’s in the Bible, ask me if you want to know) I went with it.

We had the most amazing time together! I have never met a 60 year old like Margaret who is so full of life, willing to give anything a try and so doesn’t care what people think about her having fun! I can learn a lot from her.

We met up with Margaret’s friend, James (who she also met on a train) and we had *such fun* bombing around the park, being silly, sleeping on rides (see below) and raising our eyebrows at the unintentional (or was it?) double entendres in ‘Ceebeebies Land’.

And most of all, taking our hands off the restraints and going with the drops, bumps, whirls, shoots and turns of our favourite rides., right there and then (the ultimate mindfulness awareness exercise – you can’t think of anything, you just feel!)

We were really enjoying Thirteen.
We were really enjoying Thirteen.
Smiler
The reason why I made the trip…to ride the Smiler!
September 22, 2014 at 1024AM
Do you like the Post Modern portrait?
Alton Towers Selfie
The strangest group-selfie Alton Towers has ever seen?!

Before I came back to London, I spent an afternoon in the spa there, which I’ve never done on my own and I can say that was a really cathartic experience just to be still. When I got back the next day, all my friends said they’d not seen me so full of energy for quite a while.

So, my conclusions are…that it’s so wonderful to do something you really love with people who really love it, it’s fun to take a risk and get to know someone new, it really does relax and recharge me to do something new…And finally…I am going to join the European Coaster Club (yes, it exists)!

The worst day of my life

Robin Williams in my favourite movie of his, 'The world according to T.S. Garp'.
Robin Williams in my favourite movie of his, ‘The world according to T.S. Garp’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but the tragic news of Robin William’s death has spurred me into action. I confess, I had no idea that this great hero of mine battled with depression. Maybe to some readers, you might be surprised to know that I suffer from depression? I’m putting myself on the line here, but if it raises awareness of the silent torture of depression and anxiety then it is worth it.

You may or may not know that over the last three years I have had a strange hormonal imbalance that can turn on and off the switch of severe depression (and all its symptoms) over just two hours. It completely changes my personality.

Well, I’d like to tell you about the worst day of my life. The day before I had been completely fine, normal, after two weeks of panic attacks, crying, not being able to eat and struggling to get dressed. But on that day, my mum’s 70th birthday, I was delighted to feel normal.

The next day, having had the gut-churning warning signs that a change was coming, I came around to a sickening realisation that I was depressed again. My mum had been staying to look after me as for the first time, I had been really scared of being on my own. It was not that I was planning to kill myself, I would never, ever do that. It was more that it felt like a voice had popped up in my head, like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, saying, ‘What if you throw yourself down the stairs? What if you hurt yourself with that knife?” I got so scared, because when you are depressed and anxious, a thought comes into your head and it’s like, ‘Don’t think of an elephant’. I’d had similar thoughts like, ‘What if you are sick when you eat this food’, and I’d been sick and therefore was very, very scared of this whisper.

So, this thought came into my head as I was getting up the strength to have a shower. ‘What if you lock the door and you slit your wrists? What if you smash that glass bottle and hurt yourself?’ I went through my CBT exercises of rejecting the thought, I prayed, I spoke positive statements, but it took me two hours to have that shower and my mum was outside the door, with it unlocked. But, at least I did, and didn’t give in to the fear and just smell. 😉

You may be thinking, what? How can this Katie that I know, in whatever capacity, had thoughts like this? Well, this is my point. How could we know Robin Williams was nursing a deep darkness in his heart, which was the shadow to his apparent constant happiness? Even I question how I could have had such a thought.

It’s because it’s depression. It has a list of symptoms. One of which is suicidal thoughts. The biggest problem with depression and anxiety is where you start piling guilt on top of guilt, like, ‘I’m so guilty that I felt guilty about having that anxious thought about whether CBT will work,’ and so on.

I am receiving treatment for my hormone imbalance and as far as the depression and anxiety it suddenly dumps on me, I’m working on that too. I’m depression-proofing my work: telling people the truth, not chasing people, only planning a days work at a time, being upfront with all my clients, taking a lunch break and not working after 5.30 or on the weekend. Because I can. Because it’s my business and my health comes first.

Some people might feel uncomfortable about this way of working and living or reading this level of honesty. It might even stop them from engaging with me. But I hope you can see a little bit where I’m coming from and are still here, reader! 🙂

Through depression I have become so much stronger, more assured, braver, and more willing to stand up for the marginalised. I know many other amazing, strong people who would agree. And I’ve learnt the true meaning of ‘Joy’, not happiness all the time and a smile plastered on my face but a deep contentment in my life despite my circumstances, whether I feel normal or low.

Addition: I just want to be clear that I am sharing my experiences to hopefully show you that someone you know may be suffering but you have no idea. I am in no way, wanting it to be about me. You can draw your own conclusions, I’m not telling you what to do; it’s just to show you how depression effected me and maybe how to spot signs of those you love. Katie 🙂

Happy 2014 from the Joy Factory!

Happy 2014 from the Joy Factory

Happy New Year, everyone. A bit late, but I have been ill, forgive me.

I hope 2013 ended with a bang for you, it certainly did for me. Here are my highlights from my first quarter:

  • Created a Twibbon campaign for Greenpeace: ‘Save Santa’
  • Put on my first “Kickass Women Mingle”; a dozen kickass ladies mingled their butts off
  • Ran my first LinkedIn training morning at Harrow In Business
  • Ran two in-house social media marketing strategy consultation workshops

I’m looking forward to working closely with Hannah David on an exciting campaign for Harrow, working on the new library space and visual merchandising in the Found charity shop and running more consultation workshops with PennInk Productions.

So, pardon the pun, 2014 has certainly started with a bang!

Katie.

Come on in to the Joy Factory.

I have had an exciting few months since opening the doors to the Joy Factory. My mission is to help people to be understood, through social media marketing, branding and illustration. I’m committed to helping Harrow businesses succeed and also to champion homelessness and mental health charities.

My first two campaigns were working on new branding and communications for Found, a charity shop in Harrow. Here is some of the branding and communications I created.

found marketing and communications
Found flyers and PR coverage

My first illustration client was PETA International. I created illustrations for the donations page. Would these little mink make you donate?

PETA donations website page illustration
PETA donations website page illustration

My first consultation client is Fastalk Languages. I will be working with them on a weekly basis to identify the customer profile, the key offering and the online marketing strategy. I will be focusing on the customer journey on the website, networking through LinkedIn and Twitter and advertising on Facebook.

As Autumn moves in, I will be working on the following campaigns and projects –

  • New branding and communications for a Harrow youth programme
  • Working with Harrow Councillor, Hannah David, on campaigning online
  • Branding and communications for new Found library and charity token scheme

If you are interested in my services, please drop me an email at katie@joyfactory.co.uk.

Katie.