I ended 2018 by guest lecturing at Leicester University to 50 Media & Communications students. I spoke about freelance life, the PR/journalism divide & travel industry boom.
I loved it. Definitely want to do more public speaking in 2019.
I went to Tel Aviv armed with a bunch of commissions. The first was a design lover’s guide to dining for The Spaces. A feast for the eyes and the belly… Read all about it here.
I went to Palm Springs and gawped at beautiful buildings, went to ‘Slab City’ and marvelled at the bizarre lump that is Salvation Mountain. My piece for VICE’s travel mag Amuse here.
I’ve started working with travel startup A Place Less Ordinary and they asked me if I would write a love letter to London to launch the site. I left the city 6 months ago and miss it a lot – you can probably tell… Go read the piece here.
I’ve had this on my list to do for a long time. I wanted to write this as a 6 month update since December and it’s September… needless to say I’ve been busy. I’ve also moved to Bristol and the work hasn’t stopped – proof that life does exist outside of London. No client has cared that I’m no longer based in the capital and can only commit to remote working – times are changing.
One of the things about being freelance as no-one ever really knows what you’re up to. You’re not sat at the same desk with the same colleagues Monday to Friday. I share some stuff on social media, some stuff I keep quiet. I quite like that I can choose to promote the work I want to – it’s basically the stuff I want more of, so I curate it.
Since January things have really ramped up. Being freelance is definitely a snowball effect as the more people you work with, the web grows, and the referrals roll in. As of yet, I haven’t had to really look for work. I’ve also learnt to enjoy a quiet week – not panic – as it seems to all pile on top the week after like clockwork.
I travelled and worked on the road for the month of February. I went to Quebec and wrote for The Week, spent a week in Montreal where I interviewed the amazing fashion designer Ying Gao about her ‘reactive’ dresses, moved onto LA and saw some old Visit California friends, then onto Sausalito to write a guide for SUITCASE, finally spending a few days with the wonderful people behind Norn in San Francisco and wrote about it for The Spaces. I didn’t make it to Palm Springs but I did write two articles for The Spaces on Modernism Week and Modernist churches.
Working and travelling seems glamorous and it is wonderful and fills my heart with joy unlike anything else BUT it’s hard to find a balance. I had deadlines but I also wanted to explore. The time difference meant I was waking up at 5am to a crazy inbox. But it was totally worth it.
I’ve also been working on some amazing art PR clients via Tamsin Daniel, including Making Places (turning Waltham Forest into a hub of outdoor installations), Roy’s People Art Fair, Loop, Acrylicize (lamp installations in Manchester) and the crazy talented Alexander James. Supporting emerging British artists, architects and ambitious creative projects is super important to me.
In April, I was invited to Italy on a Call Me By Your Name themed press trip by my SUITCASE editor. It was my favourite film this year so obviously I replied YES YES YES and we went to Milan, Lake Garda and other beautiful small towns in Lombardy. I interviewed the ‘sleep scientist’ Matthew Walker for Amuse about how the travel industry should be helping the sleep epidemic and stayed in the lovely Eccleston Hotel to try out their £15,000 mattress.
I started working with Millennium Hotels who are launching two new rebrands: M Collection and Lengs Collection. I wrote Tone of Voice guidelines (which I LOVE doing) and website copy for each of the hotels. Working with GA Design on this is a dream.
VICE Berlin contacted me having read my stuff to ask if I would write two advertorial pieces for them in collaboration with the Hungarian Tourism Board. One was on Budapest’s high/low culture nightlife and the other on the food scene. That was fun. I also wrote some SEO copy for Expedia on Seville.
In June, I went away for the month (again). I covered We Love Green festival in Paris for Amuse, stayed in a yurt on an island in New York for STYLIST then went roadtripping around Italy and Croatia with friends. I worked the entire time (sometimes getting up at 6am before anyone else was awake), which was tough, but it was projects that I just couldn’t say no to, including a huge copywriting project for the SS Great Britain museum. Exciting to have my first Bristol client!
My work with Appear Here has been consistent. I’ve interviewed some incredible people for their blog, such as Serena Guen (founder of SUITCASE) and Poppy Jamie (founder of HappyNotPerfect app), and written about Japanese retail, fashion tech, the vegan revolution, urban farms, and more. I’ve also started writing for OnOffice magazine about workplace design (something I find weirdly fascinating… maybe because I’m no longer in an office) as well as the travel startup A Place Less Ordinary. Check them out – you’ll hear about them soon enough I’m sure.
Through referrals, I’ve also been moving into children’s tech space, having undertaken copywriting projects with Tech Will Save Us and Kano. Anyone who knows me will think this is hilarious as I am a *bit* of a luddite when it comes to tech. But I am trying. As long as it’s encouraging kids to be creative, I’m on board.
As for non-work travelling, I went to Madrid with my sister (where we haggled for a lot of market clothes and ate far too many tapas) and the Edinburgh Fringe, which was so much fun. We spent a lot of money on drag shows. Will go again.
Now I’m freelance I seem to spend a lot of my time doing life admin, which involves a lot of self-promotion (such as this blog) but I know it’s important and people see it. I have an accountant. I’ve recently added testimonials to my website (some of which made me cry… I have no shame in saying). Emma Gannon (someone who I really look up to career wise) also gave me a shout out on her new book’s Instagram page. ‘The Multi-Hyphen Method’ champions side-hustlers and freelancers and those refusing to climb one career ladder. I live and breathe this, so that was a huge highlight this year.
In December I will be guest lecturing at Leicester University to Media & Communications graduates, which I’m so excited about. I am also hopefully organising a wellness panel event in Bristol with my wonderful friend and fellow freelancer Helen Morris. I want to do more public speaking and panels – it’s definitely a goal for 2019. I’m hopefully going to be working with a walking app and a fashion startup – both industries I’m really interested in.
At the beginning of the month I went to my friend’s very own yoga retreat in France, which was so chilled and just what I needed. Next up is hopefully Israel, Palm Springs for Modernism Week (including a top secret celeb project that I can’t divulge just yet), potentially India and the Maldives. I stayed in the UK for July and August so I think it’s time for some trips.
Since the below post I’ve had a lot of people contact me asking for tips on going freelance so this is also something I’m going to be writing a blog about. I’m working on it. Watch this space.
I went to New York to go island hopping, stayed in a yurt and wrote about it for Stylist (their only weekly travel feature) in print and online. It was fun and I decided I do in fact like New York having seen the city in a different light (no rooftop bars and no skyscraper hotels…)