A fresh start…

8 Nov

Well hello there. Gosh it’s been a long time. I think you might need a cuppa and a sit down to prepare you for this post.

I can’t say it’s going to be all that focused but I can tell you that there is a happy ending and lots of exciting news so bare with me and I guarantee it will be worth reading on, I promise.

(Sorry about the absence of visuals..I have too much to do today but will add some later.)

Hello if you’re new to this blog by the way. You might know me from Instagram, Twitter or Facebook but this is my little blog I started 2 years ago when I began the Make, Thrift London journey.

So…at this critical turning point in my life, I have decided to finally revive this blog and see if anyone cares!

I am, at last, ready to share my big life decision which I made just over a week ago. But first, I should probably start with where I’ve been for the past 18 months.

No one likes to talk about DEPRESSION (I said it out loud and the world never ended; see) but the truth is, it affects 1 in 4 of us and it got me pretty hard in 2012.

Shall we start from the beginning…

I made the decision in 2011 to leave uni where I was studying Fashion Design to take a leap and start my own business. I was 25 and saw myself going into a cut throat, consuming industry which went against everything I believed in. So I had a big idea that I wanted to try and make a small change in the world, through craft; to open this wonderful place where people could pop in and craft and drink tea and have a lovely time and meet some nice people.

It was all going well at first, I very nearly got a pop-up shop and then, one bad event or small disappointment after another and I found myself sinking into a dark black hole I nearly didn’t find a way out of. I became very depressed, stopped going out, seeing my friends, crafting and generally not doing any of the things I enjoy in life. It’s a vicious cycle of not feeling like doing anything and then feeling worse because you’re not doing anything and not telling anyone because you’re embarrassed about not doing anything and so, I kept it mainly to myself and confided a small bit in my fiancé. But he was going through a tough time as well and I felt like I needed to be there for him so I think all of that on top of the pressure I put on myself with starting up a small business basically pushed me into the dark place I found myself in.

I was working part-time a few days a week in a job I didn’t enjoy; it was a lonely place, working mainly on my own and doing the job of 3 people but this was my only routine and it got me out of the house. The rest of my week consisted of sitting at home, usually in bed, undressed, mindlessly watching crappy daytime TV and watching my life and the world slip by. I’d go on twitter and see other people doing great things and it made me feel like a failure. When you’re in that place your mind plays tricks with you. You over think things, you see every tiny thing as something huge and it becomes a paranoid, scary place. It’s hard to see a way out and unless you’ve been there I really cannot describe it well enough. I was so down, I wouldn’t even step foot in my studio, the creative hub of my life; the home of the very craft which used to be my solace. But it was too hard to face.

Eventually, I sought help. I hadn’t slept a full night through in about 6 months. My mum was beginning to notice. I went to my GP who was not very objective, and told me the reason I felt this way was because of my fiancé and that I taken all the responsibilty of making him happy because of what he was going through, in sacrafice for my own happiness. But she didn’t know him, or us and I didn’t take any notice of her “advice.” So when she immediately offered me anti-depressants, I declined. I didn’t want to be drugged up at the first signs of feeling down. It had taken me a long time to recognise that depression is what I had. It’s a clinical disease. It’s in our heads but it is a real and serious illness, which I don’t think people take seriously enough. But I didn’t want drugs, I didn’t take them before I was depressed so why would I need them to get back there. I eventually sought councilling and this wasn’t really for me. After being on a waiting list for 2 months I began CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) over the phone once a week. I say it wasn’t for me but in a way it did help me evaluate my thoughts and behaviour and look at how I could see things differently. Although I believe I was already on track to getting better so maybe it was a catalyst in pushing me in the right direction. I do believe, the most influential push at getting better came from people like Ruby Wax and other more outspoken high profile personalities like Frankie Sandford from the Saturday’s speaking out about their experiences which helped me realise that it’s ok to admit that maybe you are depressed and seemingly normal people who have loads going for them still suffer with it.

And the more I faced up to it the more I felt I could tell people. I read about a Thrifty Mrs who suffers with depression too. I always remember her describing it like ‘falling off the conveyor belt of life.’ This is a perfect analogy. It feels exactly like that. You’re taken off this path and suddenly you’re in no man’s land. So it is people like this who spoke out openly, and also a few friends who I won’t name because I haven’t asked them about mentioning them into this post (you know who you are) who helped me realise that it’s quite a common thing to go through and that depression doesn’t have to rule your life. You can get better.

It was a slow process. It didn’t happen over night but my friends were key in helping me get over it and  back to the happy place I’m at right now and be once again, the Daisy I hope you have all come to know (and love??)

You lose confidence when you go through something like that and although you do start feeling better it takes time to realise in yourself that you can do it and get back on that conveyor belt to the path you are destined for. Getting a job at Oliver Bonas this time last year, while having my CBT sessions was also key in getting better. I had worked there as a Christmas temp the previous year and loved it but couldn’t stay on permanently because there were no vacancies, which suited me. So I was so happy when I got a job again as a temp, at a local store, which had just opened and was very easy for me to get to. I had a great Christmas there and meeting customers and getting to know the team boosted my confidence and I stayed on as a permanent part-time team member in the hope that I could revive my plans for my business the rest of the time.

To veer off from me slightly, back in March, Alice Hainsworth of Handmade by You opened a studio called the Handmade by You Studio at the wonderful Alfie’s Antique Market in Marylebone. I have never told Alice this but I was filled with jealousy and envy when she told me her good news. We had been friends for a while through twitter and in my happier days we worked together running a kids workshop at Hyde Bark for the Mayhew Animal Home. We’d kept in touch throughout.

I was jealous because I’d wanted premises for so long and could not see a way to get there but here Alice was opening a little place all on her own. But actually, Alice had worked hard on Handmade by You for two years to get there and she totally deserved it. I wasn’t by any means ready to open a shop-fronted business and she invited me down to see the studio before it opened and oh was it a beautiful vintage haven.

We talked about me running a workshop there and I was excited about doing it but it had been nearly a year since I’d taught a workshop and the fear and anxiety about whether I was good enough held me back. So it wasn’t until July that I finally got my act together and held my first bookbinding workshop there. I had been quietly using Instagram for a while and one of those bookings was from a friend I met on there called Marie AKA @scribbleyoga who was a fellow creative, thrifty crafter and I felt so happy that she wanted to come and craft with me. All together we got 3 bookings plus Alice’s partner Helly and it was such a lovely afternoon. I was getting my craft mojo back and it reminded me how good it felt to teach and help people be creative and watch their creative process and confirmed that this was my calling and what I wanted to do.

We ran another bookbinding session before Alice told me she would sadly be closing the studio but for a happy reason, she was going to have a baby. This was great news but I was sad for her to have to close something she had put so much work into. It looked beautiful and she’d just gotten a feature in Mollie Makes about her journey there.

Alice began making her plans to wind down the space at Alfie’s and then one day I got a text message from her. It just read something along the lines of “can we meet next week, I want to discuss a possible future for Handmade by You and Make, Thrift London.” This got me very excited. I had been thinking for a while about whether taking over Alice’s little studio would be something I could do. And was this her way of asking? We met a week later at Kew Gardens. I had never been, so we had a lovely hour or so looking around the grounds. Then it was time for a cuppa, a slice of cake and down to business. We probably spent a good couple of hours bouncing ideas off each other and talking about exciting things we could do with both our creative minds working together. This was an opportunity I am eternally grateful for. This new partnership gave Alice the time she needed to enjoy her maternity leave and at the same time was a great way to ease into taking the next step for Make, Thrift London. So we decided we would go ahead with her plan to close the studio but instead, just temporarily to allow me time to plan what I wanted to do there and keep the studio open in preparation for her return.

So I’m so pleased to announce, that from January I will be taking over the studio for a couple of months whilst Alice enjoys being a mummy. And we hope you will join us in our new partnership launching at the end of March at the studio when she returns from maternity leave. We don’t have a name for our joint project yet but we will keep our own business names and run our own projects alongside our collaborative ones under the umbrella of the studio and its new name (TBA). We are currently looking for creatives and designer makers to join us at the studio, running workshops of their own and selling their handmade wares. If you are interested please drop me a line daisy (at) handmade-by-you (dot) co (dot) uk. Depending on interest we are thinking of doing an open studio day where you come in and have a cuppa and a chat with us to discuss where you might fit in.

We are super excited for the New Year and the re-launch and hope you’ll join us on this little crafting journey. In the mean time, I have lots of workshops lined up for January and February as well as a January sale (if you are interested in selling off Christmas stock overs do get in touch at the beginning of Jan (studio reopns the 11th January) and a series called Thrifty Makes which will be low cost fun and thrifty craft projects at a special introductory price throughout January. Plus lots more to come in Feb. Watch this space and sign up to our mailing list by visiting www.handmade-by-you.co.uk

And that’s not all, Make, Thrift London will be on tour this November and December at London’s best Christmas fairs and markets so have a look at the events on the website above and I hope to see you there.

In conclusion, the huge decision I made last week was not an easy one. But I do believe it had been long overdue and being depressed prolonged it further. It’s quite a personal subject and still quite raw but I feel I need to talk about it to give closure to those involved.

Last Thursday I broke up with my fiancé. We had been together for over 4 years. We first met 11 years ago. I was nearly 17, he nearly 21. That sounds like a big age gap and it was at the time. But we fell in love, or maybe lust. To this day, I can’t be sure.

 Sadly, he had just come out of a longterm relationship and wasn’t ready to get back into another so after an intense 4 weeks or so he ended things. I was heart broken but only 16 after all and hadn’t really experienced these intense feelings before.

 After 5 years of not speaking we reconnected through facebook and after a long process of seeing each other casually (which spanned about 2 years) he finally told me he was in love with me and this was the start of our 4 year relationship.

 We had a great first year, it wasn’t easy but no relationship is without it’s faults. I was in my first year at uni at the time so was away a lot but we made it work and it was exciting and romantic; just as I imagined. The second year was harder. We decided it would be a good idea for me to move in with him and he has a tiny flat and my art materials and “mess” took over slightly. Saying this we enjoyed spending our time together, and I got to see him more but I wasn’t happy at uni and even though I eventually moved back home to have more space to work, this was when I finally made the decision to leave and where I picked up from at the beginning of this post.

 My depression was a huge part of our relationship breaking down. But he had his own problems and this meant the both of us couldn’t offer each other much support.

 Then, about 2 months ago, I started volunteering at a wonderful social enterprise called Petit Miracles. So called because they take unloved, or overloved furniture and upcycle it into a new piece ready to be loved all over again and help the long term unemployed gain skills to then hopefully go into employment.

 There, I met a guy who I had an instant connection with. We were just friends, but shared the same sense of humour and some how seemed to understand each other.

 The more I got to know him, volunteering there once a week, my feelings towards him grew deeper. He made me feel happy, smile, laugh and enjoy being alive. This made me realise, I hadn’t felt this way about my fiancé in a long time. And though we had tried for a long time to get it back but things hadn’t been the same.

 The closer I got to this new guy, the more I knew the decision I had to make. And it wasn’t that I was leaving my fiancé for this new relationship but that I realised my own relationship hadn’t been a proper one for a while.

 Sure, we knew each other inside out and helped each other; we were companions but the spark, that fire we once had, was gone and I couldn’t see us ever getting it back. We had become different people; he wanted to settle down, while I wanted to spread my wings, travel, grow my business, get out there, try new things and meet new people. It wasn’t an easy realisation to face but a scary step forward that I had to make. And I haven’t looked back.

 Although I didn’t want to get into another relationship straight away I didn’t want to wait because it felt so right and I’m happy to announce that although we’re keeping things low key right now, the new man in my life and I are very happy and enjoying our time together.

 His name is Iyoub and he’ll be helping me with the madness of organising myself for Renegade Craft Fair this weekend and running the craft workshop with me and the rest of team Make, Thrift. So come and say hello, Saturday and Sunday 9&10th November, at the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London 11-6pm. It’s free entry, there’s a DJ and a free photo booth from Look Look. Excited to announce we will be running a creative photo competition with the Look Look team. You can find us right next to their booth, stand 49, where we’ll be hosting a stamp making workshop where you will get to carve your own stamp and print some gift wrap, perfect for all the wonderful handmade gifts and wares you’ll find with over 100 curated vendors, I do hope you’ve been saving up!

Huge love and thanks for reading,

Daisy x


15 Responses to “A fresh start…”

  1. Rosie November 8, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    I really admire your honesty. I’ll see you this weekend as I’m going to come to the craft fair 🙂

    Excited for your future projects, too! Good luck!

    • Daisy Surgey November 8, 2013 at 11:01 am #

      Thanks so much! I look forward to meeting you Rosie! x

    • Daisy Surgey November 8, 2013 at 11:26 am #

      Thanks V! See you tomorrow!!! xx

  2. Viktorija (@yellowfi) November 8, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are so brave and your story is so inspirational. Best of luck on all your new creative and love adventures! ❤

  3. Made by Molu November 8, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    Wow. I’m actually lost for words! What you have done here by sharing and opening up to the world about depression, is so VERY admirable Daisy! As you rightly said, it’s not an easy subject matter to talk about let alone accept it. With all the stigma that surround it, depression can be so easily dismissed or go unnoticed. I think more so for women too as we tend to be so hard on ourselves or afraid of how others might perceive us if we are seen to ‘struggle’ or ‘not cope’. And before you know it, you can spiral into a bigger and deeper black hole. We all go through crazy overwelming phases at least once in our lifetime (life and all its dramas!) but its important not to feel like you’re alone in it. I think you’ll find you’re personal account of dealing with Depression will console and inspire many (women) out there as it has for me. It takes guts and hats off to you for that! Thanks for sharing lady and I truly wish you all the very best in life all your future endeavours! Looking forward to seeing you at Renegade and on the 16th! 🙂 xxx

    • Daisy Surgey November 8, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

      Thanks Soumya. I just never want anyone to feel alone and ashamed like I did. People just need to talk about it. And get out of the house. Those two things alone, helped me more than any of the CBT. Thanks again..See you at Renegade xx

  4. claireabellemakes November 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    I think you are super brave to speak out. I look forward to seeing you at Renegade as I will be visiting Sunday.

    Claire x

    • Daisy Surgey November 8, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

      Thanks so much Claire. Will be lovely to finally meet you! See you then x

  5. Natalie November 8, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    Hi Daisy,

    You probably don’t remember me but we met at the Prince’s Trust for one of their workshops. You have no idea how much this post has helped me, I’m currently going through a low that I haven’t shared with anyone and the honesty of this post was so refreshing and encouraging. So glad your back on you feet again and your business is going well, a friend and I planned on visiting your fair on Sunday, so may see you there.

    Thanks again


    • Daisy Surgey November 8, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      Natalie of course I remember you. You inspired me! I loved how you wanted to get a VW camper can to drive round and run your lens obscura workshops from. Come see me on Sunday. Please. Booth 49 by the photo booth. We’ll chat xxx

      • Natalie November 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

        See you Sunday 🙂 Xxx

  6. Jen November 8, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    What a brave and honest post Daisy-well done. Mental health and depression is still hugely stigmatised, and it is people like you opening up and talking about it with such refreshing honesty, that will help to break the taboo.
    Sounds like you are on the right track, and headed for great things.
    Keep your chin up.
    I posted this quote today on my blog
    “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain”
    Let’s all go dance 🙂

    • Daisy Surgey November 8, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

      Thanks Jen. It was your email that reached out to many all those months ago when you were so encouraging about what I was trying to achieve that was a catalyst to push for my dream and ultimately get to where I am today. I know you’re going through a tough time at the mo so I’m happy you commented and I really hope to meet you at some point next year. I love what you’re doing. You inspire me to push for demanding better from this world. Best wishes, Daisy xxx

  7. liveitloveitmakeit November 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Awww, this post is so good and so honest! I love that you are talking about your experiences and hope that it helps other people, alongside being a great crafter too. I was in a job where It got so bad that I didn’t want to ‘craft’ and so I got out. It just needs to be done sometimes. Looking forward to a visit to the new space in January hopefully!
    H (aka one half of Live it. Love it. Make it)

  8. The Ladybug Chronicles November 25, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    I am PROUD to be your friend! ❤

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