Monday, 4 November 2019

It's OK to Talk About Death. But How?


So, probably not the uplifting, feel good opening to a blog that you’d normally expect but I just found myself watching a segment of This Morning where Jim Carter was chatting to Phil and Holly about the taboo of talking about death and I found myself needing to write more about this.

It resonated with me so much because we recently experienced such a huge family loss and often, you find that until that time comes, you never consider it.
And you shouldn’t, to some respect. You can’t live life waiting for that to happen and some people obviously experience it suddenly and don’t get that chance.

However the point of this particular segment was that they were discussing the fact that we are so ready to shun conversations about death and quickly shush people who make statements like "well, when I die..." just casually. And in many ways, that's not helpful because it means that so many people are left completely clueless, alone and with a lot of pressure when a loss does happen.


Marie Curie have recently set up an advertising campaign to encourage people to be more open about death and that's where this discussion has stemmed from. On their website, they break down our attitude to death and the different ways we cope, we refer to it, we celebrate life in general. And having just lost someone very close to me, I really do welcome this campaign.
We knew we were going to face our loss and so although things were talked about and discussed, we aren't a particularly open family in some respects and I really don't think we're the only ones, hence why I think this initiative is great.

When the time comes there are so many things you wouldn't have considered, so many things that probably weren't discussed or talked about and although it's difficult, emotional and upsetting, the slightest little bit of information could help those facing the loss later on. I've talked to friends and family lately about how bizarre I found some of the traditions and processes around death and marking a death and so many have agreed that whilst there's a formality about proceedings and that marks a lot of respect for those who have passed, it sometimes can seem un-natural and un-realistic when you are such laid-back, casual people and you haven't really talked about it. And I think opening up the conversation around death would definitely help. Attitudes and processes surrounding death differ across the world but a lot of what we know of end of life and funerals comes from what we see on TV until we are faced with those situations ourselves.

It is a sensitive subject, it is hard to confront and many of us just don't feel comfortable with these conversations and discussions but I think it's great that there's a campaign to open this up and I wanted to share that.
I also wanted to share something which may seem trivial and odd to some but something I found incredibly useful and comforting after the recent passing of my grandad.

A while ago, I purchased a gift for my grandparents to mark their wedding anniversary and it was two journals, one for each of them, which had questions on each and every page. Things like "tell me about where you grew up", "what did you do to pass time as a child?", "who was your hero or biggest influence?" and the purpose was for them to write in the book, fill it out and hand it back to me when they'd completed it, so that I could read about their lives and their thoughts and opinions.

At the time of buying these, we had no idea grandad was ill and it was just a thoughtful gesture because I loved listening to tales of their lives but didn't often get the opportunity to have those chats. Grandad was a quiet, respectful man and a man of very few words and so this book proved to be eye-opening and incredibly helpful when we re-discovered it upon his passing. It helped us reminisce, helped us to make arrangements, and gave me a little piece of him that I can always refer back to and read.
If you and your family find such conversations hard or simply have regrettably had few opportunities to discuss and reflect on lives and your memories, then I would strongly recommend these books which you can buy for all members of family, friends and even yourself. The one I bought was by From You to Me as part of their Journals of a Lifetime range and was suggested to me by a friend but you can purchase them via this link.




A different post but one to get us all thinking.

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Shopping Small & Supporting Creatives this Christmas



As you'll know if you've read my recent posts and seen the changes to my pages over the last few months, I recently expanded moreth4nwords to include an online store featuring prints and cards created through my digital illustration.

As I've been adding to my Instagram, Etsy and posting more and more digital illustration content, I've found myself part of an ever-growing, inspiring, kind and creative community of like-minded creatives doing what they love. My Instagram is turning into a home for all things independent, handmade and creative and I love it. It's inspired me beyond belief and I can't wait to explore the products and pieces on offer from so many small businesses and creatives this festive season and this post is a call to action urging you all to do the same and shop small and independent this Christmas.

The thought and care taken to produce some of the pieces on offer by the creative community far exceeds that of some bigger chains and mass produced gifts. That's not to say we shouldn't shop mainstream obviously, but a lot of people miss a trick when it comes to gift-buying by not knowing or simply ignoring/discounting the smaller grass roots makers out there.

So, this Christmas, shop Etsy, shop markets, shop craft fairs and start to open your minds and the minds of loved ones by exploring further for your gifts, trinkets and treats.
To start the ball rolling, I have compiled a number of sellers that I've encountered on Instagram and Etsy that I know work incredibly hard and deserve some love and sales. They all create such brilliant, relatable, quality pieces whatever their niche may be.

First up I'm shouting out to two very good friends who sell their makes on Etsy who are two long time creators whose talents know no bounds.

LetsGoFlyAKyte is an Etsy store developed by my good friend Jo to exhibit and sell her incredible hand-made jewellery. Jo lends her hand to many creative bits and bobs and is incredibly talented at whatever crafty endeavour she sets out to make. Gorgeous, trendy, quirky and unique pieces, fab quality.




JadeBreanneBridal is an online store developed by a close friend who is a genius where dress-making and textiles are concerned. A talented wedding and event dressmaker and seamstress with a side-line in bridal accessories made by hand. Check out her Instagram.








Next up are a bunch of creatives who have caught my eye on Instagram over the last couple of weeks:


DorkfaceBlog is an online blogger and illustrator with a range of products from cute art prints to stationary and is super supportive with other creatives, always engaging and inspiring posts. Check her out on Instagram.





MonsterfulMama is another illustrator who sells her amazing products online and also supports and engages a lot with other creatives. Her ghosty illustrations are the cutest! Check out her Instagram.




KellyLouIllustration is a brilliantly talented illustrator who again has been championing other creatives and her products are awesome. Lots of quirky but cute gifts and a particular penchant for Harry Potter related makes! Check out her Instagram.




Candy Doll Club is a shop by creative Jade Boylan who I recently discovered on Instagram. She creates cool as hell, quirky and sassy products and hails from the Isle of Man, a place I have a soft spot for as it's the home of one of my besties.





Rate Cute Resin is a shop specialising in handmade jewellery. Lots of rate cute pastels and glitters making up unique jewellery pieces. Rate Cute also support and engage with other creatives and have other ventures, all accessible on their shop and Instagram.





Katnipp is a business based around illustrations created by Catherine Kay, a super talented illustrator and Youtuber who I recently got into watching and who helped inspire my love for digital illustration. She seems like THE friendliest person in the world and her business seems to be thriving but her products are lush so it's really no surprise. Check out her Instagram and YouTube.




DaisyChainMakes is a creator of crochet homeware, jewellery and gift goodies. These creations are adorable and I will be keeping my eye on Instagram to see what takes my fancy over this festive period. The festive decorations are the cutest!



The Squirrel Collective is another crochet creator who makes a range of cute products, homeware, clothing and gifts. These products are lovely and she is another big supporter of creatives who regularly engages and shares findings on Instagram.






I also recently came across the Just a Card campaign which aims to encourage buyers to purchase from small sellers and independents in the field of art, design, illustration and other crafty creators. Their aim, much like this blog post is to keep the love for independent creators alive and to encourage people to share and engage with independent creators. And also to encourage people to appreciate the time, effort and resources put into creating their products. Check out their website and Instagram to see more of what they do and get involved.



And last but not least, a shameless plug of my own endeavour, an online store alongside moreth4nwords selling art prints, greetings cards and other gifts. It's something I really enjoy doing and I'm totally open to commissions and bespoke ideas if they are in my remit of creation as a bit of a beginner. Please check out my store, Instagram, Facebook page and share, like and follow if you can. Email also provided for enquiries. (gaffer@moreth4nwords.com)






So there we have it folks, a range of awesome creators, for life not just Christmas. Check them out, shop small and support your local creatives!

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Expanding MoreTh4nWords


I’ve had my blog for nearly 8 years and have loved creating online content for it, in fact it is often my happy place. Of late, I’ve found myself naturally expanding my content as I’ve taken up digital illustration as a hobby which, like blogging, has been something I’ve found a lot of solace in and has become my go-to task for zoning out and expressing myself.
Due to how much I love creating content for both my blog and my digital illustration portfolio, I’ve recently expanded and set up specific Instagram and Facebook pages for MoreTh4nWords content and a brand new Etsy shop where people can purchase some of the things I’ve created.
Please share, like, follow and check out my shop for any gift ideas with Christmas coming up and feel free to get in touch with me for bespoke commission enquiries via: gaffer@moreth4nwords.com.

Etsy 

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Entering the World of Digital Illustration


I have genuinely always been in awe of people who can draw and those who just have a natural artistic flair. I love arts and crafts and all expressions of creativity but have never been lucky enough to have that natural artistic flair. Or so I thought.

During this summer I decided to treat myself big style and splashed out on an Ipad Air and Apple Pencil. I'd never had any form of tablet before and thought purchasing one would help me out with my blog, give me a lighter, more efficient alternative to taking a laptop when I go off on trips and want to watch movies and I also wanted to try my hand at a bit of digital doodling. 

Since buying my Ipad, it's been super useful for all of the above and has definitely proved a worthwhile investment. But one thing that has shocked me, given my lack of natural artistic flair has been how easy I've actually taken to using it for digital art. I bought Procreate and have been playing around on it for no less than a week and it's now my fail-safe happy place. I've found inspiration all around me and have been brimming with ideas for future pieces. I set up a new Instagram for all my work and am even now considering turning it into a bit of a pocket money gainer in the near future. 

The tools and settings available on drawing apps can make haphazard creatives like me feel like they have an expressive talent and it is so good for relaxing, winding down and practising mindfulness. Of late, I've had a lot on my mind, a lot of stresses and a lot to deal with, often taking my brain and my emotions into overdrive. The one thing that has been keeping me grounded and keeping me sane is sitting and experimenting with little creative pieces on my Ipad and it's something I'd honestly recommend to anyone. It gives me the same creative and expressive release as blogging always has (hence why my blog is also my happy place) and I can so easily take it on the go and scribble as and when I please.

The digital art is something I want to expand on and hope to have prints and cards available for purchase soon, with some close friends already commissioning pieces from me. To check out what I do and follow my new journey into the world of digital illustration then please follow my new Instagram account which will specifically be for the promotion and sharing of my blog content and digital doodles. 

A lil low res sneak peek of some of my work^




Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Yesterday Movie Review






























The Beatles are one of our many British national treasures. They won the hearts of the baby boomers, conquered the world, fed Beatlemania, aided in putting Liverpool on the map and left us an entire legacy of hits. But what if they never existed? Or what if they did, but you were the only one on earth who remembered them? Well, whilst The Beatles and their back catalogue have been no strangers to the silver screen, Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle (whose work I love and who I share a birthday with, I'll have you know) have brought the music of The Beatles back to the film forefront with their movie, Yesterday which explores that very idea.

Yesterday explores a world in which, after a power surge, the population's memory of The Beatles is completely erased. Seemingly, the only person to remember and idolise them is Jack Malik, a passionate musician, desperate for a break out of his mundane day to day. Jack is played by Himesh Patel who many people would remember from UK soap opera, EastEnders in which he played Tamwar Masood. I have to add that Tamwar and his partner Nancy, were two of my fave characters so to see him starring in a major film was a treat. The film also stars Lily James and has other appearances from Robert Carlyle, Sarah Lancashire, Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar, James Corden and Ed Sheeran who should be commended on his ability to poke fun at himself at times in the film.

With his new found knowledge that the world doesn't remember The Beatles (or Coca Cola or Harry Potter for that matter), Jack toys with the idea of passing their songs off as his own. If he can only remember them, that is. The film unfolds this narrative alongside mini strands such as a love interest between Jack and Ellie (Lily James' character) and a friendship/competitive streak between him and Ed Sheeran who plays himself but is somewhat shadowed by Jack in the music stakes.

Himesh performs the songs in the movie and clearly has musical talents which until this role haven't been demonstrated. I genuinely looked up whether or not it was him performing whilst I was still in the cinema because I was so shocked. The music element to the film is one that I loved. Obviously it's built around the songs of The Beatles but music is a key theme throughout and you can tell that Jack's character appreciates music and has good taste from his posters, record collection and the fact he Googles some of his favourites to make sure they too haven't disappeared off the face of the earth.

The film is a light, heart-warming typically British story based around one of our most celebrated groups of pop culture icons. Like all films of its sort, it has some of the cringe, the cheese and the over-sensationalised bits you'd expect but ultimately, it celebrates a bunch of classic anthems, has genuinely funny moments, exhibits a relatively new upcoming British acting talent and above all, makes you smile and be damn happy that a world without The Beatles is not one in which we reside. I loved it and it will definitely be one of those easy going films that I'll watch again and again.


Like The Beatles? Check out my blogs Britannia Rules the (Radio) Waves in which they feature and Solo Travelling - Living My Best Life in Liverpool where I explored their hometown and old stomping grounds.