Posted on June 18, 2015

Get Messy Art Journal: ‘Carnaby Girl’ in London

This week’s prompts really asked me to dig deep as I explored one of the most adventurous things I’ve ever done.

At first I wasn’t even sure what that was, which didn’t seem very adventurous. But then I remembered the time I went to London to do a work placement, for one week, that I funded myself in my final year of university. It feels like a crossover between ADVENTURE and BRAVE.

There was a big element of being brave and of going with the flow and adapting quickly to what became a very difficult situation in the youth hostel I was staying in. Each night I packed up my things and moved on – to a different room and then to a different hostel. I felt very vulnerable and alone. It was definitely an adventure. But I learnt to trust my instincts, rely on myself, be strong in the face of adversity, and realised that sometimes, you just need to weather the storm and wait for the rainbow at the other side.

I loved the work I was doing (at a global trend prediction agency) and they offered me a job to start when I finished university. But then. Well. Life got in the way. It was my dream job, and I let it slip away.

I’ll always think back and wonder: what if? What if I’d just done it, gone to London? Lived the dream and not worried about debts or being away from family and friends. Carried on indefinitely, living it up London-style as the proverbial ‘Carnaby Girl’.

But I couldn’t do it. I didn’t do it. So no regrets.

Swinging London - Close UpSwinging London - An Adventure

I’ve used a background of some super-funky ‘Swinging London’ themed wallpaper that I got in a charity shop for 25p. Bargain!

I then layered strips of cut-off scraps from another project to form my journaling canvas and space. I wanted to convey the vibrancy of ‘the big smoke’ to my then small-town experience, and how dazzling it was to be set free in a city as eclectic and ‘on’ as London.

To be able to visit famous streets and places like Carnaby Street and Liberty and galleries and shop in the world’s biggest Topshop until 9pm! It had me under its spell; lights blurring in and out of focus as I walked for miles instead of taking the tube to save money.

Swinging London - Carnaby Street Close UpSwinging London - Carnaby Street

As I worked on my first page, I lay my strips down on the other side of the paper and then noticed how they ‘boxed in’ the shocked impression of the vintage/60’s woman.

I liked how that echoed the feelings I started to experience as my week ticked on, so I let that lead the second page. I used more scrap notepaper for my words so they lay across the mish-mash of colour that represents everything loud and bright and vibrant that London was for me.

The wallpaper is the star of this show I think?

I love the way that it’s never too late to ‘journal’ an experience and express feelings in this way. I’m going to do some more pages around this.

Meanwhile, delve into the biggest adventures of some other Get Messy members and find out how to register.


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  • Reply Emily@squiggleandswirl June 18, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    I’m always inspired by how you express things both visually and with words. These pages really do convey the vibrant business of a city. I enjoyed getting to know you a bit more through your story too . See you next Thursday :)

    • Reply daintydora June 19, 2015 at 9:26 am

      Thanks Emily. Yes a big city can be exciting but also ‘too much’ sometimes. I love London – for a weekend – but ultimately I don’t think I could have lived there and been happy long-term. So many other life-paths and routes to adventure though, and I wouldn’t have met my husband or have the friends I’ve got now if I’d gone… Glasgow is perfect for me. See you next Thursday! xx

  • Reply Sarah June 18, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    I love this story. It brought back feelings of being young and moving to a new town once for work and another just to get away from it. Very brave in deed and it shows in your work.

    • Reply daintydora June 19, 2015 at 9:29 am

      Thanks Sarah. It definitely rooted me right back to that time in my life and being young – finishing university and all the different options. Ah – feeling wistful! I’m grateful for the experience though and although I sometimes think ‘what if’, I’m happy in my life now and that’s the main thing xx

  • Reply Lauren June 19, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Snap I did London too! I love what you have done and love that you have wrote how you were feeling, London is such a amazing place x

    • Reply daintydora June 19, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      Thanks Lauren. I love that London is so big and has so much going on that everyone can have their own unique experience of it. Art journaling definitely makes me tap into my feelings so I thought I’d better write them down! xx

  • Reply Jacquie June 20, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Love the woman’s face! And I can kind of understand where you’re coming from – I visited London around this time last year and loved it but found the actual city a little too busy for me. I don’t think I could ever live there long-term. Bristol, on the other hand, I LOVED. Still very popular and busy, but not too intense. Anyway, sorry to ramble – loved this collage, Rebecca!
    Jacquie recently posted…“We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart – ReviewMy Profile

    • Reply daintydora June 21, 2015 at 7:32 am

      Thank you! I think people underestimate just how much is going on in the smaller cities too – I’m all for championing the cause that you don’t have to move to London and away from family and friends to live your dream career. There is so much going on in Glasgow and I visited Birmingham earlier in the year and it has a huge creative hub. Next stop – Bristol! Yay for our home cities :)

  • Reply Julia June 25, 2015 at 11:03 am

    These pages are so emotive – I like how you have layered all of the papers with your different thoughts – you really get the sense of conflict and chaos! I too, thought I would have to move to London after I graduated and was scared because I didn’t think living there would be good for me – luckily I got a job up north and am happy in Yorkshire :) You need to do a post about Glasgow living because I really want to visit! :D
    Julia recently posted…POST 47: SEASON OF ADVENTURE #4My Profile

    • Reply daintydora June 25, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      Thanks Julia! Yes – great idea to feature some more local pages here. I take lots of photos of Glasgow and want to sell some prints at some point in the future. I do love Glasgow to bits.

      So glad we both found our niche without having to move away from home!! xx

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