Lovely Awards for Card & Gift Blog

A break from our normal showcase and feature posts today as Card & Gift Blog has been nominated for a Liebster Blog Award by the lovely Jo from The Writing Bureau to read all about it click here.

“The Liebster Award is for bloggers with under 300 followers and the rules of the award is that the nominee must link back to whoever awarded them, write 11 random facts about themselves, answer the 11 questions from the award giver, and then nominate another 11 bloggers and make up 11 questions for them to answer. It’s a great way for new and undiscovered bloggers to meet new people, get more followers and find some blogs that they want to follow.”

Thank you Jo!

First a big thank you to Jo for thinking of me and nominating me. Jo creates gorgeous greetings cards, which have been featured here on Card & Gift Blog in the past, and I’m sure will be popping up again in the future. Click here to visit her website and see them for yourself.

11 random facts about me

  1. I’ve inherited a love of Agatha Christie books, and am currently building my own collection of her novels. I get sent a monthly ‘Agatha parcel’ with two books, each is a hard-back with reproduction of the original artwork from when they were first published.
  2. I spent my 30th birthday in Boston (the Massachusetts one, not the Lincolnshire one) with my lovely friend Christine … we ate Chinese food and got suspiciously drunk on a few cocktails. Christine also arranged for our hotel to make me a birthday cake, which was lovely!
  3. I’m a bit of an insomniac … ‘bit of’ is probably an understatement.
  4. When housing situation allows, I have a list of animals I want to adopt, so far I have names for 2 dogs, 5 cats and a horse. I’d also quite like Donkeys but have yet to think of names for them.
  5. Despite living in an entirely land-locked county I love water and swimming.
  6. I’m a compulsive list writer, which works out quite well as I also love stationery and buying notebooks.
  7. I seem to be a bit backward when it comes to what temperature drinks should be. I keep ‘ice-cold’ fizzy drinks at room temperature and often take so long drinking tea or hot chocolate that it gets cold, which is fine with me.
  8. I love gigs, but don’t actually get round to going to many any more (pesky self-employment getting in the way). I do however have plans for one gig in May (Muse!) – I think this will be my holiday for 2013 – as this is an evening out at Coventry’s football stadium this is pretty sad.
  9. I’ve been dreaming about visiting Berlin. I haven’t been on holiday for three years but that would be my first choice destination.
  10. I find listening to loud music relaxing, and often listen to Rage Against the Machine as alternative meditation, it helps to clear my mind and stop me thinking.
  11. I’m very squeamish. I spent a large portion of the time watching Game of Thrones hid behind a cushion. Oh and you could not pay me to sit through an episode of those embarrassing or most-shocking body programmes.
  12. Despite usually having a fairly bad memory and truly appalling knowledge of geography I can name all 50 American states.*

*several hours after this was published I noticed I gave 12 facts not 11, so apparently I have trouble counting too! 

My answers to Jo’s questions

Where do you see your business in five years time? 

In five years time I’d hope to have a very slick business and to be working with a nice little team of talented people. Card & Gift Blog, and my business Piccadilly Lane, both revolve around supporting independent Dessingers, Makers, Publishers and Retailers, so in five years time I hope to be able to do this on a bigger and better scale … I like to keep things moving forward and improving so I imagine in five years there will have been lots of tinkering. I also hope that a few of the top secret plans have been started too!

What’s your favourite recipe?

I really don’t have the patience to cook I’m afraid. I tend to get distracted, wander off, send an email, crop an image or two and then realise something’s burnt or turned into something unrecognisable. The one thing I can make, and a good contender for a favourite recipe would be Banoffee Pie – it’s really easy to make, cannot be burnt and tastes lovely.

What’s your most inspirational quote?

I really wanted to give you a good answer for this but the only quotes I can ever remember are silly, stupid or ‘inside joke’ quotes from movies or TV shows. As I just saw this yesterday I’ll go with one from Dead Poet’s Society … “Don’t just jump off like Lemmings! Take a look around!” … it’s all about looking at things from a different perspective, not following the crowd and looking at the world for yourself, so I think that fits into inspirational.

What do you listen to when your creating? 

I either listen to BBC 6 music on my lovely DAB Radio or whatever CD I have loaded onto my laptop. Despite having quite a large collection of music, I don’t often seem to get round to changing things so I tend to listen to the same thing on loop until it drives me crazy. Currently the CD honours go to ‘The 2nd Law’ by Muse. As a 90’s girl, I gravitate towards the indie / rock / ‘boys with guitars’ genre. Muse have been a particular obsession for the last 10 years or so.

What’s your greatest business tip? 

Right now, I’m really appreciating the importance of having an outsider that you can ask questions or seek advice from. Find someone … a friend, family member, ex colleague, mentor – anyone really who isn’t immersed in your business as a ‘go to’ person. It can be overwhelming running your own business, and you get so caught up in the million little things that every now and then you need that outside person to help you see the big picture, focus you, or just stop you going a little mental. I’m regularly on both sides of this idea, both providing help and seeking help so I know it works.

What’s the best part of running your business? 

I love researching, so I enjoy seeking out new products and designers. Once I’ve found them I get to help showcase their products, increase awareness of their brands and for a few I get to help develop their business further, which is really great too.

Who or what inspires you? 

Lots and lots of things really, but as we’ve been talking business I have to say that I’ve got quite a few family and friends that have started a business in the last few years, and I find each one of them inspiring. I like that they’re going out into the world, taking a risk and creating something new. In the current economic situation it’s really easy to moan and complain but I like the people that persevere and remain positive.

Do you have any advice for starting and writing a blog? 

I think whatever the motivation for starting a blog you need to think about your subject in depth before you get started. Blogs are a long-term commitment and you need to be consistently adding new content, so you need to be enthusiastic about what you’re discussing. If you’re a bit half-hearted you’re likely to give up, only blog once every six months, or resent having to do it so much that it will just become a chore.

What’s your biggest success? 

It’s early days but I think Piccadilly Lane. It was a big risk as I had to invest a lot of time and money into making it happen but I’ve had really amazing feedback and the initial statistics from how the site is performing for our clients is very exciting!

Any tips on staying organised? 

Pick a system that works for you and takes into account your likes / dislikes. I tend to like keeping a list of everything and then use that to create a mini list of high priority items. As I have a pretty random memory I also have a calendar in place to keep track of future events.

Why did you start your blog/business? 

Myself and my colleagues had been made redundant from our jobs at a greetings card publisher, and like our company I knew a lot of independent businesses struggling with the credit crunch / economic crisis. The blog was a way to share my industry knowledge and help those independent businesses. Piccadilly Lane takes this a step further providing long-term support and promotion for card and gift businesses.

My 11 nominees

Workspace 1 Blog ~ wisdom and entertaining posts from a fab creative company ran by my friends Christine and Ross.

Blue Eyed Sun Blog ~ industry knowledge and business wisdom from Jeremy at Blue Eyed Sun

Ask Flimsy ~ fabulous, entertaining illustrations and wisdom from Leicester-based Illustrator Rachael Smith
The Love Monk ~ life lessons and love from my friend Lindsey

Laura Felicity Blog ~ behind the scenes goodness from Designer-Maker, Laura Felicity

Coulson Macleod Blog ~ behind the scenes of a fab art brand

Alice Perry Blog ~ lovely surface patter design from Alice Perry

JLW Illustration Blog ~ lots of lovely crafts and design from JLW Illustration

Origami Chicken ~ great blog by Designer Joanne Hawker

Pennychoo Blog ~ retro goodness from the lovely Sue at Pennychoo.

Dilys Treacle Treasures Blog ~ a lovely sneak peek at the world of Dilys Treacle Treasures by founder Janine.


11 questions for my nominees

  1. Why did you start your blog / business?
  2. What advice have you found helpful?
  3. How do you motivate yourself?
  4. What inspires you?
  5. What free software or application would you recommend?
  6. What is your favourite city or place to visit?
  7. Which TV boxset (s) would you recommend?
  8. Do you have any design loves or hates?
  9. What are your favourite card or gift brands / designers?
  10. If you could request one gift right now, what would you ask for?
  11. What aims do you want to fulfil this year?