January: Work kicked off early for me with a shoot in Cyprus, where I was doing some directing work. I met lots of stray cats and also did an awkward underwear shoot in my hotel room. My partner also came out to visit me whilst I was shooting there, and managed to get stuck on top of a Ferris wheel. Literally the people operating it had forgotten people were on it and were packing up for the day when I arrived to let them know. As you will know if you watched my vlogs over Christmas I’m not a fan of Ferris wheels!
I also made a start with some Decluttering, it’s an ongoing task with the amount of items I thrift! But it always feels great to have a good clear out at the end of a season so I parted with a lot of winter coats which were taking up far to much valuable wardrobe space. I think I’m due another one very soon. I’ve watched a bit of Marie Kondo on Netflix, and although I don’t think I’m ever going to be that extreme, I can be ruthless when I put my mind to it.
My next job took me to Dubai. I often get asked what my job is that allows me to travel. I work as a freelance Producer / Director, and work on projects that involve shooting abroad. Because of the long flight, myself and the camera crew had a rest day before we started shooting so we took ourselves off to a waterpark. I had a go at body boarding on one of those Surf machines. Never again. I thought I was going to drown and came off thinking I might need a neck brace for the remainder of the shoot. I also went head first slide and one that involves sitting in a large dingy, and on both of those I thought I was going to die. With all that being said I still love a water park.
I had a fantastic time in Dubai, I got to see some parts of it like the creek and the spice market that I hadn’t visited before and also visited the desert where I got to ride on a camel and try sand boarding on the sand dunes. I also visited the worlds largest shopping mall where I had 20 minutes to look around. Torture! But probably for the best 😉
Over on Youtube my first collaboration of the year was with Manchester Blogger & YouTuber Freya Farrington. We took on a challenge to visit 10 charity shops in one day and see if we could manage it, and what we could find. It was actually easier that I expected, and I still had enough energy at the end to hit the £2 Tiger sale, where I picked up loads of bargains.
February started with a job in Lancaster. I was ‘multi-camera’ directing which is a different discipline than directing single camera location shoots. For this kind of set up I’m working with a much larger crew so I communicate to them all over talkback, and am based in a gallery with all the monitors in front of me, along with a script supervisor and vision mixer. It’s pretty complicated (for me at least!) and involves a lot of preparation combined with a lot of… hmm… winging it? Things move so fast and chop and change a lot, so sometimes that’s the only option and is the reason I always use pencil on a script!
If you follow me on Instagram you might remember the accommodation was something the Hotel Inspector would have had a field day on so constructed a towel path to get me between the bed and shower because the carpet was so gross.
After a week of shooting I travelled back to London just in time for Vidcon. I’ve never been to anything like this before and for me it was pretty daunting going along to it by myself. I had no idea what to expect and I got there pretty late on the Saturday because I was completely exhausted. (The multi-camera directing involves being constantly ‘on’ so I was pretty pooped) but I forced myself to go (and I’d already paid for my ticket which was quite expensive). When I arrived I was given a my pass and I went up to the area where some talks were being held.
Since starting YouTube it’s been a steep learning curve and there is so much more to it than just uploading videos, so I was keen to learn as much as I could whilst I was there. The first two panels I wanted to go to were full so I was left awkwardly hanging around the ‘networking’ area. Gulp. Thankfully I spotted Holly and Callum from Holly Vlogs who were lovely and it was so nice to see some friendly faces.
The following day I returned to have my channel reviewed, which felt like a bit of a test but the nice man said lots of positive things and gave me some helpful pointers. Then I met up with Hermione Chantal, who I collaborated with at Christmas on some Poundland Christmas Decor DIYs. It was so fab to meet her after watching her for years, and share stories of the challenges of shooting DIY’s on YouTube! We took the Emirates sky lift over the Thames over to the O2 which I highly recommend doing if you are ever in the area. I also met Holly Of All Trades, Jack Edwards and Mark Ferris who were all lovely. The whole Vidcon experience was great for me because I was able to meet other YouTubers and connect with them, but if I’m honest I don’t think the Creator ticket price was very good value considering I wasn’t able to get into all of the talks.
I was also invited by Upcycled Hour to give a talk at one of their workshops on all things YouTube and Instagram. Public speaking is something that I’ve had a pretty big phobia of since secondary school. I’ve had really bad attacks of nerves in the past where I’d have sleepless nights if I had to talk in front of large groups of people. I think vlogging has really helped with this. Last summer I had the opportunity to go on stage at The Handmade Fair with Mollie Makes Magazine, and although the thought of going on stage and having to talk (and do a live DIY) made me feel a bit sick, I just thought the best thing to do was just do it and not tell them I was nervous. (And not tell anyone I was doing it, incase I mess up!) After getting through that without falling over / vomiting / failing to speak, I felt a lot more confident about public speaking and my attitude towards it has shifted which I’m really happy about because honestly that dread is something I don’t ever want to relive. I think for me the best way to get through it is to have a laugh with it and not worry if things go wrong. So for this talk I went along with that attitude. And after an emergency banana which I always find good for nerves I had a nice time doing the talk.
March started with a fun day out in Norfolk with my YouTube buddies Luke & Kate. Kate lives in Norfolk so Luke and I took the train down to visit her. We took a boat out on the Norfolk broads which was so much fun. (Until I crashed it) and then we filmed some videos in Kate’s beautiful home and finished the day with a trip to Home Bargains! Back on the DIY’s and I upcycled an old chair that had been gathering dust in my loft and turned it into a succulent planter for my roof garden. I also launched my home Instagram account Mr Carrington Home which is where I share all of my homeware finds and room makeovers. My next work trip took me to Drobak in Norway which was very cold and very picturesque. Before returning home I explored the city of Oslo and discovered some incredible home stores. Back in London I was invited to take part in Sighted Guide training with Guide Dogs to promote their volunteer scheme. I had such a fun morning, the highlight being meeting some of the young dogs in training. But it was also fantastic to learn some skills to help people who are visually impaired in day to day life. I came away having learnt loads, there’s lots of useful tips on their website and I vlogged the experience if you want to learn more.
I was also invited to along to see Rudimental at the Royal Albert Hall which was an incredible experience. I’ve never been to a concert there and it was amazing. I took my friend James and we were put in our own box and had so much fun, and probably (definitely) too much Champagne.
March finished with a weekend in Monaco with my partner and two of our good friends who we’ve been going on holiday with for years. We stayed in the Metropole which is probably the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in, having found a really good deal with BA holidays. I’ve written more about visiting Monaco here and I also vlogged a little look around.
Whist I was there I got the news I had been nominated for Blogosphere Blogger of the year, so that day was spent in a happy daze! More on that later 🙂
The office / spare room / junk room makeover was underway and I collaborated with one of my favourite home brands Desenio on a gallery wall. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, but we are now in June and I still need to complete that room. Part 3 coming soon!*ish
April began with a job in Cape Town. To be honest I didn’t really know what to expect and I was blown away by it there. I had a free day and took a day trip to Boulders Beach to see the Penguins! The city itself was fantastic. Great food and wine, the people were friendly and I loved how it’s situated between the mountains and the beach. I also had a hotel room with a washer and a dryer in a kitchenette which is a game changer! I went home with clean washing. (It’s the small things). And if you are interested in my budget travel hacks you can watch them here!
At the end of the month I went to Devon to spend some time with family in a holiday cottage. It’s a bit of an annual tradition and it’s nice to spend some time somewhere with limited access to wifi or phone signal. The cottage itself has neither so the evenings were spent trying to complete a 1000 piece jigsaw, watching random DVDs and drinking wine.
The month ended with my birthday which was low key local drinks, some meetings in Cardiff for a project and a shoot in Italy, in a beautiful part between Naples and Rome. The scenery there was stunning!
May started with a very exciting trip to Amsterdam. This was my first trip away for YouTube and I was there with Clink Hostels to visit the Keukenhof Gardens. (Which are famous for their tulip displays). It was a 24 hour trip so I flew out early from City Airport. The hostel itself was great and I felt very lucky to get to travel as part of doing YouTube and share this trip!
I had a couple of weeks based in London prepping for the job in Cardiff, and then I went to a Ryobi power tools event with Catherine from Dainty Diaries. It involved saying over night in the Reading countryside and then spending the day with power tools. The highlight was the ride on lawn mowers!
Then the Blogosphere Awards came around and by then I still don’t think it had sunk in that I’d been nominated. It was an incredible night, they put so much effort into organising it, and it was really inspiring to be in a room with so many talented creators and celebrate their achievements. All the antics are in the vlog!
And then onto June and we are up to date! I’ve spent all of this month working in Cardiff, doing some directing work on a lovely project. It’s been really nice to be based in one place for a few weeks (even if it’s not home!) and it’s allowed me to have a bit of a routine with the gym and getting some much needed early nights. I also met up with blogger Ryan Mules and we had a fun afternoon shooting together.
I did pop back to London for a day, to do a shoot with Blogosphere Magazine. After the awards they invited Luke and myself to take part in a feature called ‘In conversation with’ where we were given a series of topics related to what we do online to have a chin wag about. I’ve never done anything like that before, so it was so brilliant to do this with Luke who made the posing in front of the camera way less awkward and we had a lovely time with the team. The piece will be in Issue 21 which is out in August.
And that’s us up to date! It’s been really nice to sit down and reflect on the past 6 months, it’s been incredibly busy and I’m always grateful for the opportunities I get through my work and through starting this blog and my YouTube channel.
For the first time in a few years I’m not working on a long project over summer so I’m looking forward to spending a bit more time at home and enjoying the summer, if we actually get one! And as for the next 6 months I’m not sure exactly what’s in the pipeline, the joys of freelance life – but I think I’ll aim to do another one of these around Christmas time!
If you’ve made it this far thank you so much for reading, let me know what your highlight has been from the past 6 months and what you are looking forward to for the rest of the year! 🙂
Photo Credit: Luke Catleugh
I’m wearing: River Island Suit (Aff)
My backpack: Reiss (Aff)