Book Club | Work Smarter : Live Better by Cyril Peupion

Hello and happy Tuesday! Today marks a new little section I am adding to the blog, book club! If you follow me on Instagram you will see that I recently finished Work Smarter : Live Better by Cyril Peupion and I wanted to share what I learnt from it in a mini review and as I am planning to do more reading and devote more time to self-learning this year hopefully I will be reading a lot more that I can share and make this an ongoing feature. 

Title | Work Smarter : Live Better by Cyril Peupion

Synopsis | Written by Australian business coach Cyril Peupion this book teaches practical tools to help you control your time and workload and organise your work so that you are not left stressed and feeling like you never get anything done. The teachings in this book are really interesting and for the most part quite simple. Putting them into practice that is the hard bit, but will leave you working much more effectively. The book will challenges how you think about work and time and aims to equip you to work smarter and live better.

What I thought | I found this book really interesting and read it in under a week (admittedly half of it was read on the journey back from Paris something that does not happen often enough). Although it was largely aimed at people that work in offices and in a corporate world the basic lessons can definitely be applied to a self-employed creative like myself. There were a few parts that I originally thought didn't apply to me (he talks about microsoft outlook a lot) but when I actually thought about it I saw how I could relate them to the way I run my business and spend my time. It definitely made me question the value I put on my time and made me think about my 'big rocks' the things that are most important to my business and my life. Whilst I haven't had a chance to fully put everything I learnt into practice I am already using some of the lessons in my day to day.

Biggest lessons / Email management. My inbox is very organised with loads of folders and subfolders, one thing that Cyril recommends. However, I have my email open all the time on my laptop and on my phone and it is such a big distraction. I now have twice daily designated to checking my emails and things that can be replied to in under 5 minutes I do then and there and those that can't be I schedule in my diary for the next time I have space. It is definitely going to take some getting used to - I feel quite on edge not checking it but I think it will bring some control to my email procrastination. Planning. I again am a bit of a planner but I have all good intentions invariably end up flapping my way through the days and weeks without much direction. This book has some great examples of how to plan an effective week with lots of breathing space so that I feel more in control of your time. I am trying to assign times to everything I do now so that I can actually see what I can fit into my day as opposed to just having a never-ending to-do list that I can never finish. It is important to fill your diary with your big rocks first and then fit the other smaller things around them. Big rocks are things that are important and high impact on your business. We want to try and spend more time in a proactive mind frame working on high impact long-term activities as oppose to reactive activities that are urgent but low impact. Say No. The key to being more proactive is to say no to low impact work, many successful business owners and managers say no to a lot of things that they don't deem important. It is okay to say no sometimes. Evaluate what the impact of the work is before saying yes. There is a difference between important work and urgent matters. Value time. We place so much more value on money than time - we are always hustling away to make money yet it is time that can be taken away from us at any given moment. Cyril opens the book with such a great example of this that really makes you think.

Favourite Quote | 'Think progress not perfection'

Rating | 5/5

Buy It | I have the Kikki K edition which you can buy here or the original edition is available on amazon here.

Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought if you have and leave me suggestions for my next read!

L x

studio shelves

2018 | goals

The last post I wrote looked back over a brilliant 2017 so today as I step back into the studio I am planning and prepping (or at least attempting to) for the next year. Yesterday I looked back through the goals I made for 2017 and am happy that I reached not all but most of them. This year I am trying to be realistic with my goal setting and make them measurable. I used Powersheets for the second half of 2017 and have bought a year one for this year so I will be using that to plan, prep and track my goals…if I remember to actually do it which leads us onto goal number one….

In business….

Be organised, plan, prep and schedule my time.
This tends to be my downfall at times. I have all the things to do and I don't schedule them properly so I end up racing through everything with an air of total panic surrounding me. I also procrastinate sometimes….all times….and I need to stop that. I am hoping by time blocking my day using my very snazzy Lifestyled planner I can keep on track of the work I have to do and also make time for self development. I also need to schedule time each month for finances and accounts - I am SO terrible at this and really must get better because it causes me so much stress. One of my jobs this week it to work out exactly what I need to do in the week to week running of my business and then schedule it in to every week so I always have the time to do it…..that will work right?! 

Self Development.
I am determined to spend time on self development in 2018. I want to spend more time learning how to use my iPad pro (which I have had for over a year….oops) and also learn copperplate calligraphy. Along with adding these to my skill set I want to learn more business skills to help my business for example marketing and Pinterest. I am hoping that I can put aside at least an hour a week to spend on self development.

New Collection Designs
This year I launched four new collections which went really well and I would like to do 3 more in 2018 before I exhibit at Excel in April! I have a couple of ideas already - its just a case of making them a reality now!

Okay so this is one that I didn't managed last year so it is here again…BLOGGING. I MUST BE BETTER. I really enjoy chatting away here so I want to make more effort to make time for it. Ideally I would like to post once a week…but I am going to aim for at least once a fortnight to start off with - don't want to get too big for my boots!

In 2017 I grew my following from 2k to 7k so my goal for 2018 is to grow it to 12k. I really enjoy using Instagram and I am so proud of the organic growth that I have had on the platform. Plus all the pretty is just the best. I find it a huge source of inspiration and a great place to engage and network with fellow suppliers and creatives.

I lost a little bit of love for teaching at the end of 2018 as I found it hard to sell tickets and had a little bit of a low confidence moment seeing all the amazing calligraphers teaching in London and I thought no one wanted to come to my workshops anymore (I know, poor, poor Lauren). This year I want to find the love back for them and plan some for the upcoming months and also get an intermediate workshop plan in place. I would also love to do some kind of online course but I think that might be on the cards for 2019 not this year.

Wedding Clients
In 2017 I nailed down my ideal client and this year I want to find more of them! I have been pushing my invitation design and ended the year with five new invitation clients which was really great. In 2018 I would like to get 20 invitation clients in total a mix of Collection Designs and Bespoke.

In Life…

I am the classic cliche of ‘Go on a diet’ being my new years resolution which I fail at every year, however in November last year I went on a sugar detox and although I only lasted 5 weeks it really made me feel a lot better in myself so I am going to do this again and do the whole 8 weeks and then once I have done it I am hoping that I can stick to it and have less sugar as a whole in my diet. I am not a natural exerciser and I actually hate it (ha) but it does make me feel better and I feel when I get up and work out in the morning even if it just a power walk with the dog it makes me feel much better in body and mind for the day ahead. My goal for 2018 is to exercise 4 times a week (more if possible) to get my body moving and my mind working…along with dropping the two stone I need to lose…(fab.)

I love reading and I miss it so much. I would like to read one book a month this year and make a conscious effort to spend half an hour in bed reading rather than watching crap telly until late at night. It helps my imagination and creative side whereas I feel a lot of the time TV dulls it.

Exploring and Travel
We live in the suburbs of london and we are so close to gorgeous Kent countryside and Surrey which I feel we don't take advantage of enough. This year I want to have a family day out somewhere new each month, a day trip to discover somewhere new and the beauty of what is around us.

My working hours have continuously increased over this last year much quicker than I expected them too and Oscar now goes to daycare 3 days a week. He also spends one day a week with his grandparents and still sleeps in the afternoon (long may that last!!). I end up only having one on one time with him one morning a week (weekends we spend mainly as a family!) this year my goal is to spend that morning doing something fun with my attention fully on him rather than trying to balance parenting/work. I can afford to take one morning off work and spend it with him and I must remember this.

So in a nutshell those are my goals for 2018, I think they are pretty achievable (except maybe the losing weight as ALWAYS) and I feel pumped for the year ahead. It already feels promising and I am excited for the journey it takes me on. 

What are your goals for 2018?

L x

Photo 04-01-2018, 17 26 12.jpg



2017 | A Recap

So basically all of my blog posts start the same. Usually, an exclamation involving how quickly the last (insert timeframe here) has gone by and then an apology for how LAME I am at keeping up with my blog. Although these end up being empty promises I am TRULY sorry. I have all these grand plans to keep up with my blog and ideas to write about (because I also truly love waffling on here) but I am truly crap at prioritising it and in my crazy unscheduled working days it gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. Usually along with accounts too. Oops. I am not going to say that I am going to try and be better next year (because you've heard it all before) but I am…..

Anyhow today is New Year's Eve - the last day of 2017. WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL (see I told you - I am so predictable). It really doesn't seem like a whole 12 months ago that I was looking at the rear end of 2016. Beyond mental. However quickly this year has passed it has also been a crazy one. 2017 is/was my second year in business with Oh Wonder and it has pushed me further than I thought possible and whilst I have had some pretty crappy moments I have also had the most amazing ones too.

In Business…

2017 was the year that I stood up in front of 100 people, three days running, and taught modern calligraphy. It still blows my mind that I did this. I am not a naturally confident person - I don't like standing up in front of people and I am much more comfortable sitting on my sofa than in a big group of people I don't know. There is a story about me playing Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at primary school (god knows why I am admitting this on the internet)….. and it basically ends in me not singing at all. Not one single word. And just standing in the middle of the stage staring at my parents with hate in my eyes as if it was all their fault. My dad filmed the first 10 minutes then it got awkward so he turned the camera off. The outcome of this debacle for small Lauren was that I have never got up on any kind of stage since (except potentially a couple of drunk group karaoke incidents when I was a teen). At the end of 2016 the lovely Megan from The Handmade Fair, unaware of the Joseph debacle, asked me to be an expert at the fair held in May at Ragley in the Midlands. Completely blown away I said yes and felt fine about it until the night before when I had a total meltdown on my best friends sofa. Cue nausea, hysterical crying, refusing pizza (SAY WHAT) and begging her not to make me go. After a sleepless teary night, however, I put my big girl pants on and travelled up to Ragley and spent three days making the nicest of friends and having in all honesty, a load of blooming fun. I felt like I was going to pass out before the first workshop and was sure my voice and hand were both shaking I stood up there like a boss and taught 100 people how to do modern calligraphy. The feeling after was totally euphoric and the next two days of teaching were really fun. Having people come up to me after and tell me how much they enjoyed it honestly made me want to cry. It is one of my biggest achievements of this year (and potentially my life?!) and the good it has done for my confidence and self-belief I cannot even put into words. Also, they have asked me back for 2018 sooooooo seemingly I did okay. 

After this, I went on to teach 6 workshops at The National Wedding Show, one of the biggest bridal shows in the country, at London Excel. Mind-blowing. Talking of the National Wedding Show, in 2017 I also exhibited at three wedding fairs. Starting off small at The Chosen Wedding Fair getting bigger at Most Curious and then finishing off with the biggest at Excel. I love working for myself and being my own (I am a closet loner) but meeting people face to face and speaking to them about the work that I truly love gives me such a buzz. It's exhausting but the most fun and I can’t wait to do more shows next year. I also got to do two of the shows with two of my business besties which made it all the more awesome.

This year I have also had a load of styled shoots published (mental note to actually keep count of them next year) some of which are in print which is WILD. I am such a lover of magazines so to see my work in them is just beyond humbling. Through working on styled shoots I have met the most wonderful array of wedding suppliers all of whom are a total joy to work with. Being able to work to such creative briefs for styled shoots is one of my favourite things to do and seeing the professional images is always so exciting.

2017 was also the year that I met and worked with some truly gorgeous brides and grooms. I nailed down who my ideal client is and then I worked with some who blew my socks off at how perfect for Oh Wonder they were. I worked on two weddings at my favourite wedding venue - Aynhoe Park and the pictures were just breathtaking. I had my biggest on the day wedding order for a wedding in August with whom I worked with one of my favourite Planners Krysta from For The Love Of Weddings. We were both having a pretty awful time when we were pulling this together and she showed me the true meaning of sisterhood as we helped each other pull off the most EPIC of weddings. I also worked with the amazing Kat Otter and Jay Archer flowers who created the most breathtaking of weddings and to see my work in the middle of their insane talents was just incredible.

In 2016 I became a part of the fantastic communities….and in 2017 my community turned into my friends. I am so grateful to be able to call some of my greatest competitors my closest friends. The undying support, laughs and love these ladies give me is overwhelming and they fill my heart with so much love. During my lowest OH F*** moments they are always there to pick me up and they are first to raise a glass to me for my wins. Quite simply without these ladies I don't think I would have achieved (or survived) half of what I have.

Along with all this, I have also taught countless private and group workshops, been interviewed by the lovely She Can. She Did, launched four new collection suites, grown my Instagram following by FIVE THOUSAND followers, worked with some incredible brands such as Fresh beauty, The White Company, Heaps and Stacks, Ferrero Rocher and Laura Mercier, made some baubles which went crazy and the reaction to them filled me with all the love, and I had an amazing brand shoot with the wonderful Holly Booth. Phew…..its been a busy one for Oh Wonder.

In Life…

I have spent the year watching my baby turn into a little boy full of love life and a lot of sass. Every time I look at him my heart wants to burst he is such a perfect little being. Watching him grow is a true wonder and I am forever grateful that he came into my life. My goal when I started Oh Wonder last year was to be full time by the time Oscar started at school….things have gone much much quicker and I am now finding myself trying to balance still spending time with him. Whilst there are plenty of times when I am half on my laptop and half paying attention to him I have tried to switch off and spend lots of quality time exploring and teaching him new things. Mum guilt can be a total hoe sometimes and I definitely find I have moments when I question if putting so much time into my business is the right thing to do when I have a little human. But undoubtedly having my work makes me a much better and well-rounded person. I think it is important for him to see that you can do anything you want to if you put the time and hard work into it, being a good mum is the most important thing in the world to me - but it isn't my only role and I never want it to be. I have learnt that taking time for myself to be Lauren, not just mummy makes me much better mother in the long run.

As some of you might know I have an intense fear of flying and whilst I have had it since I was 12 over the last few years it has really taken hold and got a lot worst. One of my personal goals this year was to try and face it. I spent my childhood travelling the world with my parents and the thought that I couldn’t do that for Oscar hurts me. So in the summer, I booked on to the Virgin Flying without Fear course which I took in November. The week leading up I had 3 panic attacks and I was a bundle of nerves on the morning of the course. Not only did it 100% help, it was actually a really enjoyable and interesting day. My plane knowledge is now second to none (bring on the aviation quizzes) and whilst I won't be taking my cabin crew exams anytime soon I am planning holidays for 2018. 

Speaking of holidays we took a wonderful baby-free (and plane-free!) 12-day break and drove through France into Spain and then back to France for one of my best friends thirtieth birthdays. It was the most relaxing trip spent in great company and definitely very good for my mind and soul.

This year, however, wasn't all highs. In July we said goodbye to my darling Grandma. It happened quickly and it was beyond devastating. My Grandma was one of my greatest inspirations, fiercely creative and even when she lost her sight she would find new ways to create art. She used to be a great calligrapher and some of my favourite books were given to me by her. She and my Grandad had the most wonderful of lives together and their story was the greatest of romances. Seeing him without her makes my soul ache and ending the year without her and with him also in bad health fills me with sadness. Their love will forever be an inspiration to me and they have been and always will be the reason why I am so in love with love. To have what they have is a gift, that can be taken away in an instant and should never be taken for granted.

So there we go….if you have stuck with me through all that then THANKS, 2017 has been pretty wild and I am really looking forward to what 2018 has in store for me and Oh Wonder. Not only do I turn 30 (I know, I know I really don't look it) but I have an INSANELY exciting project coming out which I cannot wait to share with you all. It is killing me not being able to write about it in this post. 

I want to thank each and every one of my followers, friends, clients, supporters and colleagues for their continuing support. Without you, all Oh Wonder wouldn't exist and I am forever thankful to you all. Wishing you all a New Years Eve filled with love, laughter and lots of bubbles and a prosperous 2018. See you the other side. 

The top five lessons I have learnt in 2017
1. Sometimes the right thing to do is to say no.
2. Community is THE most important thing.
3. Sometimes stepping out your comfort zone can make the world of difference in your business and life.
4. Don't take love or life for granted.
5. If you don't look after yourself you can't look after anyone else.

L x

September Feelings

Hello Strangers! Have you been wondering where I have gone? I am sorry. I am still alive and kicking I have just been buried under a ton of wedding calligraphy commissions for the last few months. One of my never ending goals is to be more organised with my blog (and life) and it is a working progress but I want to be here more and serve you guys because I love this little space of the internet that is mine. This summer has been a mad one...but I will save that for next week for now here is a new blog feature...the feeeeeeelings feature. I absolutely love making mood boards, I mean hello have you seen my Pinterest?! So I thought I would introduce monthly mood board posts showing what I am feeling this month.  

September Moodboard.jpg

Somehow we seem to have fallen into September...I am trying desperately not to think about how quickly this has happened. But what it does mean is that we are heading into Autumn, which is my absolutely my favourite season. As much as I love the sunshine (as long as it isn't too hot) there is nothing I love more than being in jumpers and boots kicking through crunchy leaves and snuggling up under blankets in the evenings. Septembers feelings are based around blushes and neutrals along with cool greys and dark blues, intense patterns, layered materials and of course heading towards cosy layers. I find that flora, patterns and fabrics are what I lean most towards when searching for inspiration for designs there is just something so beautiful about them. The style of calligraphy that I am using most at the moment is this loose style - I just love the effortless flow and bounce of it.

So September, I think you might be a bit of a beauty (especially as I am jetting off to France for 10 days! Woohoo!) but I promise you will see me here soon and I am not disappearing for months again!

Ciao for now.

L x