Dealing with change in life

Change is something I’ve struggled with a lot throughout life, but change is something that is constantly there. It causes me to have massive moodswings, to need much, much more ‘me’ time and it will often take me a while internally to sort myself out. Outwardly I seem to be handling it all alright.

Change is natural and needed. A stag sheds his antlers every year and grows new ones. Flowers bloom and fall back for winter, trees change colour and drop their leaves, baby boar lose their humbug stripes and become big hairy creatures. Through these things, they move forward.

Over the many massive changes I’ve had to work though I’ve developed a few coping mechanisms, a lot of which revolve around something called ‘mindfulness’.

Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.

Basically – its forcing yourself to stop worrying about then and start focusing on the now. What can be done right now to change the situation? What can YOU do immediately? Nothing? Then stop worrying.

Its OK to worry for a little bit, but try putting a time limit on it, try saying ‘right, OK, I’m going to allow myself to feel weird for an hour, then I’m going to force myself to focus on something else.’ This helps me a lot – as does reading books, ‘aimlessly’ scrolling twitter, gaming and cooking. Giving myself something else to do when I’m fretting about something I have no control over really helps.

This too shall pass.

Focusing on knowing that no matter what, the sun will come up tomorrow, and the sun will go down tomorrow helps. Think of unchangeable situations like the rain, and all you need to do is put up an umbrella. That umbrella may be some you-time, a visit to the doctor, some medication, a weekend away. The rain will stop – and if the rain isn’t stopping then there’s something influencing that that a visit to the doctor or an offload onto a great friend can help you find and change.

I’m also a strong advocate of ‘no zero days’. If you’ve got out of bed, you’ve accomplished something. Here’s a link to the original post: LINK – but below are the 4 ‘rules’.

1. No More Zero Days

  • Promise yourself that you will do one thing every day that takes you one step closer to your goal(s)

2. Be Grateful To The Three “You”s

  • Past Self: Thank your past self for the favours they did for you
  • Present Self: Do your future self a favour – they deserve it!
  • Future Self: Your absolute best friend, and a great person.

3. Forgive Yourself

  • It’s okay to fuck up. Forgive your past self, and be a better friend for your future self.

4. Exercise and Books

  • Get your heart rate up and try to read when you can. Also the easiest way to avoid a Zero Day!

In a nutshell: keep on keeping on, and nothing… nothing is worth giving up on yourself.

Scared to jump into eCommerce?

Don’t be. I’ve worked with all manner of platforms since I started mucking about with it, including Shopify, Weebly, Etsy, eBay, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, completely custom built solutions, WooCommerce and the big behemoth… Magento. Each have their good points and bad points, but there is something easily manageable out there for everyone. Whether you want to sell antiques, hand made items or print on demand shirts. If you want to carry stock or if you want to drop-ship everything direct from China it’s ALL DO-ABLE!

There is no quick, easy solution – running your own shop is a job in itself. You get back what you put in though.

Case in point: Paul Sullivan Leather ( )

I first met Paul at a lurcher show in South Wales during the summer of 2014. We’d chatted online for a while beforehand, sharing lurcher tales and I bought one of his beautiful handmade collars for Sketch. That show was his first proper show stall and his business has gone from strength to strength since. He’s quit his day job and now makes his living, supports his family and his lifestyle all through creating leather goods for working and showing hounds, and beyond.

I set up his website in late 2016 and the orders haven’t stopped rolling in since. He manages the majority from his end, checking orders and marking them shipped & completed. I’ll upload stock for him or change bits and pieces every now and then. It works very well combined with his massive 7,000+ Facebook following and regular posting.

Another case in point: Mr Broom’s ( )

I met Phil Broom through the car scene a long time ago! He approached me for help with his website in early 2016 to help make his sales process easier – no more time consuming back and forth messaging with customers, now they can just browse his entire range at once and buy via PayPal. I set it up and handed it over, and now he completely manages it.

His business has now outgrown his kitchen, a purpose built shed, a new mixing room and is moving into it’s fourth premises. Its still an on-the-side alongside his full time job. Product has been featured in GQ Magazine and is stocked in a few high end Barber Shops. He’s expanding into products for the ladies next, which will do really well considering his scents are AMAZING.

Both of these shops are running on Weebly’s eCommerce platform, there’s a small cost involved but for both businesses its outweighed by the benefits. This was the best solution for each business at the time, though it may not be for every business!

So, if you’d like to find out how eCommerce can help your business, or even if its viable for you, let me know. Combined with a bit of elbow grease, some dedication and some marketing (be that on or offline) its definitely do-able.


It’s a bit deviantArt, isnt it?

Burnout is a real thing. Burnout can cause you to do a complete 180 on your passions and what child-you thought was your life and career path. I was 18, I knew I wanted to be a children’s book illustrator. I drew animals over and over again, fantastical creations. I roleplayed online with my online friends, I created stories for all these characters. I applied to University and received an unconditional place on a degree course – General Illustration (BA Hons inc HND). I did not take a foundation course.

I was one of the youngest in my classes, and thus had a hard time connecting with others around me, they’d all been to foundation courses for a year, learned their style and where they were going and had much clearer ideas. They also lived in halls for a majority. I missed out on halls and lived in a rented room the other side of town.

I floundered around – I remember one particularly harsh review half way through my final project where my tutor said ‘Its a bit DeviantArt, isn’t it?‘ That review led me to do these images in this blog post.

Born from frustration, they were scribbled at 3am in a tiny moleskine notebook at my student house’s kitchen table, surrounded by washing up, countless empty mugs of tea and done only with a Japanese brush pen.

Cwn Annwn, the illustration above, was chosen to be displayed at New Designers’ exhibition in London that spring. It sold on the first day of the exhibition as a framed 1/2 print to a lady who loved it for her kitchen. She paid £200 as that was what I needed to fix my iPhone I had dropped the previous day. The other print (2/2) hangs in my mother’s kitchen.

And that’s it. That’s where my enjoyment stopped. I sold that piece, finished the Final Exhibition in uni, graduated and that summer I used my creative skills, laptop and graphics tablet to carve out a small living alongside working Children’s Parties and supporting my completely useless partner of the time. My art went back to ‘Its a bit DeviantArt, isn’t it?’ because that was what sold quickly. I lost my individual creative spirit.

The pain of having to draw whatever people threw at you -because you needed to live- completely killed my drive to work as an artist. I wanted to create my own visions, not those of others.

Only now, this week – 3-4 years later I am creating on my own terms again. I’m sewing, I’m scribbling and I’m enjoying what I’m doing. If I end up earning a living from it again I will gladly welcome it, but only if it comes through doing my own thing and enjoying it once again.

So I leave this blog post with a scribble I did the other evening, sat with my dog on my sofa in my home.


Mari Lwyd & Wassail at Chepstow 2018

This weekend was the Wassail & Mari Lwyd in Chepstow. Saturday night saw the LARGEST gathering of Mari Lwyds in history. What’s a Mari Lwyd?

Illustration 2011, Chelsea Hopkins, Ink on Bristol Board

An ancient Welsh tradition, mostly southern and rural, wherein a horse’s head or skull is paraded around with a group. Its halfway between Trick or Treating and Carolling. The group (with Mari) approaches a door of a home and requests to come inside with riddle & verse.

Here we come
Dear friends
To ask permissions to sing

If we don’t have permission,
Let us know in song
How we should go away tonight

In Chepstow, a Welsh/English border town, this tradition has merged with Wassailing. An event where an apple tree is sung to in order to awaken it ready for the growing season. This is to help us have a good harvest! Synonymous with cider, morris dancing and general chaos.

The English side of the river prepare with a wassail, the Welsh side have their own wassail, and after much singing and shouting…. meet in the middle of the Old Iron Bridge for a good old morris dance off.

Everyone then goes over to the Welsh side to perform Pwnco (the Mari Riddle & Song ceremony) at the museum and generally meet and have fun with the performers of the night. Nobody is ‘freaked out’ by the Maris – children are delighted and want to stroke them!

Its a fantastic event and has to be one of my all-time favourite local traditions.

A New Year, a New Blog

There’s gotta be thousands of blogs starting up this time of year, so I feel a little awash in a sea of things. Either way, welcome to my blog – here I’ll be running through my adventures and hopefully some people will find them interesting. Maybe I’ll eventually settle into a theme, but for now I’m going to see what sticks (and more importantly, see if I can stick at it.)