Checking In
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I always wondered what happened after the ‘before and after’ stories. Okay, great, you got a makeover, lost the weight, moved house, fell in love – then what? Life isn’t made up of those big transformative moments; life is what happens in between. The mundane, the run-of-the-mill, the boring daily routines.

Almost four years ago, I wrote my first blog for Heads Above The Waves, right when they were getting started. I’d recently had one of those transformative moments – in my case, it was opening up to people about my self-harm for the first time. Talking to Hannah and Si about my experiences, and about their own histories, made me realise that it was possible to change and grow as a person – that there was a possibility that I could get better.

When I wrote that blog I was in my second year of university. Since then I’ve graduated, started a career, and gained a level of stability and joy that I didn’t think was possible. It hasn’t been an easy road by any measure. In January 2016, I was hospitalised with blood clots in my lungs, and was incredibly lucky to survive past my 23rd birthday. I’ve also continued to experience depression, anxiety, and feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem. That stuff doesn’t go away – but each time you encounter those feelings, they become more familiar. You learn their power, and your power. You learn that they eventually pass. You learn that if you can just hang on through the darkest parts, the sunrise is inevitable.

There’s no secret wisdom that I, or anyone else, can pass on to stop you from suffering. But here’s some wisdom that you’re probably on the way to learning for yourself: with great suffering comes great strength.

If you can keep giving yourself chances, keep looking for the silver linings, and keep learning from the lessons that life throws at you, you’ll ultimately become stronger, wiser and more compassionate than ever. Look after yourself, but try not to wallow in self-pity. Take care of yourself physically – drink water, get enough sleep, eat some fruit – but remember that you’re only a human, and that you’re allowed to treat yourself too. Instead of getting angry and bitter at the world for the way it treated you, try getting angry at the injustices in the world, and looking for ways your experience can help others.

I’m not any kind of expert. But I have been to hell and back (multiple times), and I can tell you that it absolutely does get better. One day, that all-consuming wave of fear and pain and sadness that you think is drowning you will become nothing more than a ripple on a pond. Everything you need is already inside you. I didn’t believe in myself, and it turns out I was wrong. So, in case you can’t do it yourself right now: I believe in you.

– Beckidy

 

You’ve heard people say “new year, new me” – well we’ve gone more down the route of “new year, old me” – bringing back the Spotify playlists to introduce you to some of the songs that have helped us, and kicking off this first one of 2018 with a bunch of songs that have inspired HATW from day one (with a few newbies thrown in for good measure). Here’s a lil runthrough of the songs on here, and why we love ‘em so much.

 


When I Was Young – Blink-182

Blink have been my favourite band for a long ole time now, so they’re always going to hold a special place in my heart. And while it was their self-titled album that I had on repeat through my toughest days, the EP this is taken from needs some love too. Musically, it feels positive and upbeat, and the hook in the chorus of “It’s the worst damn day of my life… but I’m alright” is a nice reminder that it’s ok to struggle sometimes.

 

Survive – Rise Against

I’m pretty sure I first heard this on a WWE game on the PS2 (yes, that’s me showing my age) and when I actually listened to the lyrics it was one of those “this is me!” moments. “We’ve all been sorry, we’ve all been hurt, but how we survive is what makes us who we are”. I managed my self-harm by replacing it with playing drums, that was how I survived, and that’s what’s led to so many cool things happening in my life. So a reminder that the coping techniques we share can be more than just a way of getting through the day.

 

I Was Scared and I’m Sorry – The Wonder Years

The Wonder Years are another all time favourite band, from the second I first discovered them years ago. This bonus track off of ‘The Upsides’ (which is such an important album for me) is one that really hit me hard. “I’m getting better but it’s in small steps” is a nice reminder to me that progress can take time, but it’s important to be taking steps towards getting better – however small they may seem.

 

Golden – Farewell Fighter

This is the first of my curveballs. It came on shuffle from a random Spotify playlist I was listening to while walking home from work one day and straight away I had to look into it more. “Something in my heart is telling me I’ve learned to love who I’ve become // I know my learning isn’t done” was something that really struck a chord with me. Plus it says about keeping your head above the water, so of course it’s gotta be on a HATW playlist.

 

Everyday – Modern Baseball

Modern Baseball are one of the most inventive and instantly listenable bands I’ve found in the last few years, and they’re great advocates for positive mental health (and friends of ours) so go listen to their whole back catalogue. This particular track is on here for the very ending “waking up every day is all about doing things you don’t want to do, but your reward is you get to wake up”.

 

Top to Toe – Fenne Lily

I met Fenne Lily on a show in Berlin (did you hear that clang as I dropped that?) and her voice was beautiful – soothing yet haunting at the same time. So I wanted to include a track from her on this playlist too so that a) you become aware of her if you haven’t already and b) so it adds a slightly different feel. It’s not just about posi pop-punk all the time. It’s ok to have slower and introspective moments.

 

Bowl of Oranges – Bright Eyes

Back to another classic – a band I own most of their studio albums. You might’ve heard the mega cute ‘First Day of My Life’ but this song in particular reminds me of what HATW is all about: “Your eyes must do some raining if you’re ever gonna grow // But when crying don’t help and you can’t compose yourself, it’s best to compose a poem”. It’s ok to not be ok, and that’s a time to channel what you’re feeling into a creative way of coping.

 

Limerence – Gnarwolves

When we did our interview with Gnarwolves, Thom (guitars/vocals) picked out this song as a particularly cathartic one to write & play – talking of social anxiety, and dealing with life, but ultimately taking a positive spin on it “money or no, I’ve got my head held high and somewhere to go” and being able to look back having got through that time and say “I’m feeling much better now”.

 

One Step At A Time – Four Year Strong

This one really hits home – a track written about the loss of one of the singers’ brother, and the pain of losing someone you love is close to a lot of us. “One step at a time, one foot in front of the other, I’m gonna get through this one way or another”. I guess to me, it’s about letting yourself go through the emotions that come with loss – it’s ok and very natural to find it hard. But it’s also about finding a positive way to get through it and making them proud.  

 

The Sadness Will Never End – Bring Me The Horizon

The cheeriest title for a posi playlist. This was from a long time ago when BMTH had a different sound on the go, but still stands out as one of my favourites from them. The hook of “I won’t give up on you, so don’t give up on me” to me speaks of the importance of having support from people around you and being able to offer that support when you’re able to. Be excellent to each other.

 

Mess – Real Friends

The all round lovely lads in Real Friends have penned a few of our favourite lines that hit the nail on the head when it comes to positive mental wellbeing. And it’s the chorus of ‘Mess’ that keeps up the trend. “I’m letting go so I don’t lose myself” is a reminder that sometimes it’s right and ok to leave negative things, people or places behind to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.

 

Permanent – Holding Absence

I put this on a playlist not too long ago, but Holding Absence are really a band you need to watch out for in 2018. This song is particularly here because it makes a point I’ve seen made a few times: “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem” – or in the words of singer Lucas Woodland “you want to die today; you don’t want to die forever”. Ultimately pointing out that however much your current situation is, it won’t always be that way. It can, and it does, get better.

 

Unknowingly Strong – Make Do And Mend

One of the very first songs that inspired HATW – with a chorus that quite literally talks about keeping your head above the waves. It’s the bridge that I love the most though: “this is the day we all begin to let our fear go and learn to swim”. Keep on swimming and doing what you can to keep your head above whatever waves life throws your way.

 

Changes – Charles Bradley

Not gonna lie, this is kinda here because it’s a nice laid back vibe, but lyrically talking about feeling low. Going through changes is something that happens to us all, and can be hard to deal with. It was also the title music for “Big Mouth” on Netflix, which I binged through in a weekend, so makes me think about a show that made me laugh, and sometimes watching something that’ll make you laugh is a good distraction if only for a short while.

Shower Thought
Shower Thought
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It’s been freezing cold lately – quite literally. And my lovely (but old and drafty) flat has been feeling the chill. It means that getting out of the shower is one of the worst parts of getting up in the mornings (along with it being dark when you wake up this time of year, but that’s a whole other blog post right there). Every morning I seem to do the same thing:

 

  • Wake up.
  • Snooze alarm
  • Lay in bed scrolling through various social media apps for as long as possible without being late.
  • Run to the bathroom for a shower.
  • Do that little dance – the one where you stand on alternating feet in the shower, trying to keep as much of my body under the stream of hot water as possible.
  • Get out the shower – wrap a towel around me and just stand there – dripping & shivering in the middle of the bathroom clutching the towel around me – for a minute thinking about how cold I am and that it’s impossible for me to ever be warm again and dreading the thought of having to shed this towel to get on with the rest of my morning routine.

 

The last few mornings I’ve been thinking about this last step. See, it’s this weird thing where as soon as I start moving, and towelling myself down, I naturally get warmer – both cuz I’m rubbing the towel over me, drying myself off, but also because I’m actually moving, and doing something. This is the part where I start to make a good point relating to mental health, rather than just reminding you how hygenic I am.

 

See, it’s easy to be paralysed – whether that’s shivering under a towel in the morning, being overwhelmed with too many things to do with your day, or just feeling like where you are now is where you’re always going to be. But just by trying something – anything – to help yourself, you’ll start to notice that you’re making progress. In my weird little example, it’s drying myself off and moving – and the more I do, the quicker I dry, and warmer I get, and more able to face the day.

But it could be that you’re feeling overwhelmed with having a million things to get done and seemingly no time to get them done in – or too many pressures from too many places all at the same time (like, why is it that EVERY teacher thinks their subject’s homework/revision is SO much more important than every other teachers? I digress). But in that situation, it could be a case of making a list of all the things you need to get done – right down to the really basic things like brushing your teeth, getting dressed, eating breakfast, making your bed. Once you’ve ticked off a few tasks from your list – no matter how small – you’ve got a bit more momentum in you, and it’s easier to start attacking bigger tasks. You know you can do a bunch of small things, so why couldn’t you do one big thing?

 

Or in the example of feeling stuck where you are right now – maybe it’s a case of taking some steps, however small, towards taking control of your life & your mental wellbeing. Do something, even if it feels scary, and when you’ve done it, you can look back and realise that you’ve done it once and can do it again, or take on a new challenge. Maybe that’s pushing yourself to try a new coping technique or speaking to a teacher/family member/GP about the way you’re feeling. Bear in mind that it might not work for you, and that’s ok too; sometimes it’s just as much about finding what doesn’t work for you as what does.

 

I guess my challenge to you is to take that trickiest step, and start doing something – get that momentum going, and you never know where you might end up.

We caught up with Enter Shikari to talk about positive mental health, talking openly, and how they keep their heads above the waves.

Thanks to Front Row Productions for filming & editing this for us!

Everybody’s somebody’s everything; nobody is nothing – Chance The Rapper

18 months or so ago, we asked people to share with us the lyrics that helped pick them up when they were down, and someone wrote this. I’d not really listened to Chance The Rapper before (other than a sick cover of the Arthur theme song), but this had me intrigued, and when I listened to it, I instantly knew why someone had shared this song.

I won’t go on too much about how good Chance The Rapper is musically and lyrically (though I do think he’s flippin’ great), and instead just have a quick think about that one line that was shared with us.

Everybody’s somebody’s everything; nobody is nothing

Sometimes it’s easy to feel a bit unloved or a bit worthless – and heck, sometimes it’s more than that, sometimes you feel totally worthless or utterly unloved and unloveable. But the truth is you’re super unique. You play a role in this infinitely big universe that no-one else can do. Maybe you know how to make your best friends laugh like no-one else can. Maybe you’re the brave one in a  group who asks the question that everyone secretly wanted to know the answer to but were too scared to ask themselves. Maybe you smile at strangers on the street and make their day. Or maybe just by existing, you’ve made a difference in the lives of everyone you see: teachers, your family, your friends. It might not always feel like it, but you’ve got infinite potential and can do so much to make other people’s lives better.

I’ve got a lil niece who’s the absolute cutest thing in the world. Every time I get to see her or FaceTime with her (ignoring how wild it is that a 3 year old can work an iPad) it makes my day. She doesn’t know it – she’s just doing her and getting on with her little life, which mostly revolves around pirates. Which is amazing. I guess what I’m getting at with this is the fact that she doesn’t need to do or say anything in particular. Just her being her means everything to me. And in the same way, you don’t need to do or say anything outstanding; you don’t need to change the world. Just by being you, you can be making someone get as soppy as I do when I see my niece.

There’s that other saying that I’ve seen floating around a bit online too:

To the world, you’re just one person. But to one person, you’re the world

And while it can seem like you’re just lost in a crowd of billions of other people on this planet,

We obviously have a big celebrity culture, and care loads about the lives of strangers we see online or in magazines, but the most important thing is caring about the people around you – and them caring about you in return. Even if it’s just one person (but I can pretty much guarantee you it’s way more than that) by you being here, literally just existing, you might be doing so much more than you realise.

It’s funny because we often think about how much we appreciate the people around us – when they’re kind, when they help us, when they listen to us – but don’t always tell them. Let them know what they mean to you; how much you appreciate all the little quirks that make them who they are, and so important in your life.

And for what it’s worth, I’m glad you exist. Because just by being here and reading this, it means you’re part of this journey towards being stronger, that we’re all in together.

I am on the mend
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I am on the mend, at least now I can say that I am trying” – Brand New

 

Today* marks 4 years since I last self-harmed. A milestone I don’t think teenage me would’ve ever seen coming. But here we are, and that’s something to be proud of. I still struggle, but I am on the mend; at least now I can say that I’m trying. Brand New also just dropped their new album, so now’s probably the best time to actually get round to writing a blog about this lyric that inspires me, and that we have on one of our swing tags for our shirts.

*In a move that’s fairly classic me, I put off posting this for ages, which means it’s actually been over a week since the anniversary, and Brand New’s

I read this line as saying “I’m not there yet, but I’m making the effort to do something about it”, but I guess that’s not quite as poetic as the way that Brand New put it.

 

I am on the mend

If you’re not there yet, that’s ok. Sometimes it can take months or even years to work through a difficult patch, or come to terms with something. That’s ok. Go at your own pace, and don’t be hard on yourself if you struggle or if you fall down and end up back at square one.

 

Sometimes half the battle is actually knowing what the problem is. I often have those days where I just feel rubbish and can’t really explain why. And if you don’t know what the problem is, it’s hard to sort it out. So try to identify what areas of your life might be bringing you down, or triggering you, or making you feel less than awesome. I think writing stuff down is a great way to do this. Write down the situation every time you feel like self-harming. Where you are, if you’re with anyone, what’s been said, what day it is, what time it is, if anything’s happened before that’s on your mind. Then you can start to look for patterns over time. Is it the same place every time? Is there a certain person who’s bringing you down? Once you know what the problem is, you can do something about it.

 

At least now I can say that I’m trying

 

It’s gotten easier over time to resist the temptation to self-harm when everything gets too much. That’s thanks in no small part to me having things in place that I actively go to when I recognise that I’m starting to get into a negative headspace. And making that conscious effort to do something else instead of self-harm is the biggest step you’ll take on your journey to recovery.

 

I play drums whenever I can. It’s hard living in a block of flats, but knowing that I can rag a drum set in a practise room or at a show, gives me something to hold onto, and a chance let out everything out. In the short term in the flat, I can still tap my knees or a pillow or a practise pad, even if it’s not as satisfying as making loads of noise.

 

I’ve got better at talking about it too. If I’m having a bad one, I’ll let someone know when they ask. Rather than just being as typically British as possible and shrugging out a “Yeah, I’m fine”. Talking it over with people helps to identify problems, and get ideas for ways to deal with it from another perspective.

 

And as much as I hate to admit it, exercising is actually a pretty good way of working through stuff. Going for a run, or doing some push-ups/sit-ups at home (which can be done while watching the TV, so it doesn’t feel so much like hard work). There’s all sorts of scientific reasons why it’s good too – it releases good chemicals in your brain, so you’re legit gonna feel good things.

 

So with a few lil tools in my arsenal, I’m on the mend. Even if I’m not fully all the way there, it’s ok, because I’m making the effort, and I’m trying.

– Si

Hygge Spotify Playlist



Last Christmas I got given “The Little Book of Hygge” (2 copies of it, actually. Am I predictable, or do my family/girlfriend just know me really well?)  and since then, I’ve fallen in love with the Danish concept of hygge.

There’s no literal translation of what hygge is – but it’s something close to cosiness. That feeling you get when it’s raining outside, and you’re curled up under a blanket on the sofa, with a cup of hot chocolate, basked in candle light. Or the nice feeling that you get from sharing a meal with people you love. The author of “The Little Book of Hygge“, Meik Wiking, puts it way better than I can:

It’s about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world…

With this in mind, and inspired by a conversation we had in our shop the other day, we put together this playlist of songs that could be the background to a dinner with some old friends, or a way to unwind, calm down, and be in the moment by yourself. We hope you enjoy it!

Lush Charity Pot Party!

On the 1st and 2nd of July, we teamed up with Lush in Cardiff for a Charity Pot party. We’re stoked to announce that through the sales of Lush’s Charity Pot we’ve raised an amazing £299.16 towards our work. Which is amazing; thank you so much to everyone who grabbed one, and to the brill staff in Lush Cardiff for having us.

While we were in store over the weekend, we were asking people to share their favourite thing about themselves, or the nicest compliment they’ve ever received. Bit of a tricky one, eh? Because it’s easy to compliment other people, and show love to your pals. But how often do you compliment & show love to yourself? Take some time to think about the things you like about yourself – the things you’re good at, the stuff you can do that no-one else can. Or think about the things that your friends/family say to you – the compliments you might usually shrug off, try to take them on board! Write them down and remind yourself of them if you’re feeling down.

And if you feel like treating yourself to some Lush goodies to show yourself some love, you can either grab some from their store, or online & have a beautiful smelling box delivered straight to you: https://uk.lush.com

Here’s a few things that people shared with us in Lush at our Charity Pot party: HATW x Lush-1 HATW x Lush-2 HATW x Lush-3 HATW x Lush-4 HATW x Lush-5 HATW x Lush-6 HATW x Lush-7 HATW x Lush-8 HATW x Lush-9 HATW x Lush-10 HATW x Lush-11 HATW x Lush-12 HATW x Lush-13 HATW x Lush-14 HATW x Lush-15

Well. It’s been nearly a year since we last did one of these playlists (where did that year go?!) so we figured it was time to put one together again – especially since there’s been so much rad new music recently.

Chance The Rapper – ‘All We Got’

A while back, we were getting people to write out the lyrics that pick them up when they’re feeling down, and one of the first ones was Chance The Rapper: “Everybody’s somebody’s everything; nobody is nothing” –  it’s a nice lil reminder that everyone’s fighting their own battles, and everyone is important. Whoever you are, you matter to someone. You’re important. Annoyingly though, it isn’t on Spotify, so I went for ‘All We Got’ – the first track off his album ‘Colouring Book’ . Whenever I listen to Chance the Rapper, I imagine laying on grass in the sun, looking up at clouds, and this chilled song is a great example of why.

Anderson .Paak – ‘The Bird’

“We see the same things, we sing the same songs, we feel the same grief” was the line that stood out to me. This song, like Chance The Rapper, chills me right out, however I’m feeling. I like to lay down with headphones on, and listen to Anderson .Paak when I’m having a lazy Sunday.

 

Trash Boat – ‘Brave Face’

I think the main sentiment behind this for me was “I know that nothing I write you can change what you’ve been through” – an acceptance that you can’t change the past, and even the best will in the world can’t change what’s happened to you. But you can do something about it moving forward. You can find ways to grow, not ignoring the past, but learning from it.

 

Holding Absence – ‘Permanent’

Holding Absence have been smashing the UK scene recently – a super hard working band, who make beautiful & emotional music that doesn’t shy away from talking about struggles with mental health. Their first single Permanent in particular touches on the idea of struggling with not wanting to be here, but the fact that dying is a permanent solution to a temporary problem “you want to die today, you don’t want to die forever”. It also brings in hope – the idea that you’ll get there eventually “you will find a home, you will find a place” in this big crazy world, you’ve just gotta keep on hanging in there.

Plus they’re a Cardiff band, and we love a bit of local talent.

 

Rembrandts – ‘I’ll Be There For You’

Hey, who doesn’t love F.R.I.E.N.D.S.? This just came on the radio as I was putting this list together, and as cheesy as this song is, the chorus is a nice sentiment isn’t it? Look out for your friends & take time to check in with them regularly & if someone’s done that for you, return the favour! Plus, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of cheese every now and then. Plus you can’t help but do the claps in the first verse.

Stormzy – ‘Blinded By Your Grace, Pt. 2’

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Stormzy’s album – grime isn’t my usual kind of scene. But I had a bunch of people tell me to listen to it, so I did, and I was pleasantly surprised. There’s a bunch of different stuff on the album, including some really gospel-y stuff, so I wanted to include it because it took me by surprise, and I like the idea of not judging a book by its cover. I also saw an interview where Stormzy mentioned writing about his battle with depression too – and it’s great that people from all scenes are starting to talk openly about mental health, and using music to work through it.

Stranger Things – ‘Eleven’

I recently re-watched Stranger Things, and I forgot how much I love that show. Obviously because it hooked me in and ended each episode with me desperate to find out the answers to all the questions I had. But also because there’s a really lovely theme throughout the show about friends looking out for each other, and accepting people who some might see as “weirdos” as special, valuable & unique. I won’t go into any more detail in case you haven’t watched it yet, but the soundtrack is beautiful. It’s also actually really great to work to, if you’re ever in need of some chill music to help you concentrate/study/stare out the window on a train & pretend you’re in a movie to.

Novo Amor – ‘Carry You’

Novo Amor is featured on all sorts of Spotify playlists. And with good reason. It’s beautiful music, and the single from the new EP ‘Bathing Beach’ is no exception. From listening to this, I took away the idea of looking out for the people you care about. Perhaps in a less cheesy way than that Rembrandts song, though.

You Know The Drill – ‘Repose’

I was lucky enough to get to do a short tour with these guys earlier this year, and they just won a competition to play at Slam Dunk, which is awesome because they totally deserve it. Every night I watched them play this song, which is about losing someone, and it stood out as a highlight of their set. I also really love the hook/lyric “You make my life much better” – which is a sentiment we’re trying to share loads with our “I’m Glad You Exist” campaign.

Paramore – ‘Hard Times’

It actually worked out pretty well that I didn’t get this playlist finished in time for the start of May – cuz it means I got to include this absolute banger, which also actually has a pretty posi message in there too. I love it when a plan comes together.

Loyle Carner – ‘NO CD’

This song is a total banger. The first time I heard it playing in a store and I ran around asking everyone if they knew what it was. Great beats, and gets across the sentiment of loving music. And I love music.

 

 

 

 

Artist Interview with Kimmy Keep Real

Hello! What’s your name & where do you come from?

Hi there! I’m Kimberley, otherwise known on the ol’ social media as ‘kimmykeepreal’ and I live in South Yorkshire, UK. Big up the steel city of Sheffield!

How long have you been drawing/designing for?

A fair few years! I was intensely interested in Art at school, and ended up pursuing it in my spare time. Designing compared to doodling, I must say has been in the last 3 years of doing it more professionally. Overall, it has been a steady flow since an early age.

What inspires you most?

Nature and landscapes from where I live is the main source of my inspiration. I don’t live too far away from the Peak District, which is flippin’ beautiful. I twist that inspiration into symbols and all those good vibes from buddhism. I tend to draw a heck of a lot of mandalas! I also adore old school traditional styles of work and tattooing too- so that flickers through my work a fair bit.

Do you find that illustrating & designing is a helpful way for you to unwind & deal with life?

Oh yeah. Being creative in any way, is for me (and I’m hoping for a lot of folk too!) is a way to calm down and just breathe. It’s a form of mindfulness/meditation that allows you to focus on you, your body and that creative flow. If I’m having a day where my mental health is suffering, where my anxiety picks up and takes off- designing brings my mind back to the motions of my work, instead of worrying about everything and nothing. I can definitely tell when I haven’t done any artwork for a while, my mind feels restless.

Is there anything else that you do to help you stay positive?

I love going for a good walk. Going back into nature is so beneficial to staying grounded and feeling positive. We live in such a fast paced world, so it’s great to bring it back down to you and the natural world. Seeing friends and connecting with other like minded folk definitely helps to keep me positive. When you surround yourself with inspiring and wonderful people- that’s what keeps you going. That energy is just the sweetest thing to be around.

Do you have any advice for anyone out there who’s maybe struggling right now?

Keep going. Allow yourself to feel what you truly feel and be gentle. What you’re going through- you’re going to get through. You are capable of growing more as the beautiful being you are tomorrow, as well as today. Think about that tomorrow, let it guide you, let it be that light. Sometimes we can’t express how we feel in words, we’re human and it is hard. Never feel alone in this.

How about some tips for if you wanted to get into designing as a career?

Practice and persevere. Ask yourself what you’d like to do as a creative person. For me, being an ‘Artist’ fits in very well with my method of work. I’m an old school paper-and-pen- doodler who isn’t that confident turning intricate pieces of work into logos or mathematically correct digital images. Don’t take on a project or commission if it compromises your style of work. Stay true to your methods- and folk will come to you just for that. I started out by obsessively doodling on my own tote bags in college; to being in the local paper when kids started paying me to do it for them! I don’t have an art degree (but a degree in Counselling Therapy!) and finding your style is important to your self- development, and you potential customers/clients. I’ll admit, I still find it hard to use Illustrator and Photoshop. I’m an old school artist who does everything on paper and for the life of me can’t translate it to digital form. But I can try my hardest, and that is all you need. You got this- make your art a part of your ‘self’.

Can you tell us a lil bit about your own brand Keep Real?

Keep Real is a brand of ‘inspiring products promoting emotional wellbeing’. So we aim to bridge that gap between fashion/goods and mental health with products that have that ‘keep it real’ ethos. We aim to produce our goods as sustainable and as ethical as possible too. It’s about feeling good inside and out, so we’re setting up a ‘Real’ blog on how to take care of yourself through the products we make and raise awareness in mental health. So so excited for the launch- which will be around summer time 2017. It’s been a lonnng time coming of around 2-3 years of terrible sketches, idea development to last year’s trademarking sweetness. We’re bringing out a small collection first (tees to stationery) and then bringing out collections throughout the year! Woo!

Where can we find out a bit more about you & your work?

You can take a peep on all platforms for my personal posts, mental health blog posts on @kimmykeepreal and have a gander on all platforms for @KeepRealUK <3

Check out the shirt that Kim designed for HATW here!