Christina Sparkle

  1. Knowing when to quit your job

    Wow, time flies. So much has happened in the last year and a half, it’s crazy.

    Soon after our wedding Andy Candy left his job. He wasn’t happy, it wasn’t going anywhere and it seemed like there was nothing like a bright future ahead. He set up a home office and started working as a freelance writer. Writing for blogs, writing for SEO, writing for online help guides, and that is exactly where he found his happiness.

    Don’t get me wrong, working for yourself is hard, always worrying about money and where the next job is coming from, and constantly having to market yourself. It’s exhausting. But he did it, and found what he enjoys doing and can be successful at. Within a few short months he was earning enough to pay his share of the bills again, and have the same spends as he had had in his old job.

    It was at that point that I also took the jump and left my job too. Five years at the same place where I loved the clients, and solving problems through design, but had become staid. Staid in my design, staid in my outlook, and staid in my career. It was time to take a huge leap, and have never had a moment of regret. Of course, there have been highs and lows but I would not trade the variety and range of work that I now do for anything.

    My work is now on projects that change from day to day, week to week. Projects that are at polar opposites to each other and challenge me every time. No one is coming to me and asking me to replicate designs that I did two years ago. They are coming for something new, and fresh and clean. Of course I am still a nervous, insecure wreck every time I present a design to the client but I am proud that the work I’m producing now is a hundred times better than what I was doing only a year ago.

    After a year freelancing Andy took on a full time position as a Technical Writer, writing manuals and instructions for software. However, that job was not in Leicester it was in Bedford – a town almost 2 hours away. That’s pretty far for someone who doesn’t drive. So we moved. We let out our beautiful house to strangers (I’ll post some before and after piccies soon) and are now renting in Bedford. Andy walks to work through a country park and comes home smiling every day. It’s the polar opposite of his previous full time job and just goes to show that quitting his job and taking the risky leap into freelancing was exactly the right decision.

    Bedford however, has been an adjustment. We’re still adjusting but I finally feel like we are starting to settle so I think I’ll write a bit more about that in the future. It feels good to be back writing again. So much has changed, and there is a lot I need to get out.


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  2. URL Badman

    Lily’s back, huge huge love. Maybe I should make a come back too? So much to catch up on!


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  3. It’s been too long

    1aGoodness me, I can’t even believe how long it has been since I have blogged. Far. Too. Long. I’m not really sure what my excuse is. The winter months have just had me watching a lot of Buffy and a lot of Daria, doing a lot of crafting and some home improvement. But mainly I’ve been snuggling under a blanket with a husband and/or kitty.

    I decided that to make return after so long I would have to do it in style and so here are our pro wedding pics. Massive thanks to the beautiful Grace Elkin for capturing our big day at Halstead House.

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    5Our colour scheme was pink and green of every shade – I tried to make sure we went for brights over pastels but a few pastel shades managed to sneak in there.

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    1One of the best parts of our day was the first look photo session we did. It was so calming to spend a little time together before the ceremony to enjoy the farm, and to get a lot of our couple shots out of the way so we could spend the rest of the day with our guests.

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    7“It must be love” by Madness was our theme for the day. We used it for processional, and recessional performed very kindly by Andy’s best man on the guitar. It was also featured in the band’s set during the reception (again fronted by Andy’s best man).

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    11For anyone else planning a wedding right now I guess my advice would be to make use of Google Docs, it definitely made planning a breeze for us! And, don’t sweat the last minute things – there will always be something you remember at the final hour but that says to me that it really wasn’t that important in the first place, so forget about it. Oh, and good luck!


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  4. Free holiday gift tags PDF

    Check out these gorgeous printable gift tags from Eat Drink Chic!

    It’s been a while since I’ve posted a tutorial or freebie, I’ve found good ones hard to find. But hopefully these beauties mark a change in that trend


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  5. Bush – Glycerine with Gwen Stefani

    Shot by a fan at this weekend’s KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas, I can’t stop watching this. When they kiss at the end? Possible the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Now there is a couple who have made it through.


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  6. Kindleabra

    Andy’s birthday is at the beginning of November, which I find very frustrating because I manage to think of an amazing gift for his birthday but then my ideas are all used up for Christmas and I am stuck! Anyway, this year Andy got a Kindle for his birthday from his family and I gave him some Amazon vouchers to fill up the Kindle with lots of treats.

    At first I wasn’t convinced by Kindles, I didn’t see the point when you could get an iPad which has so much more functionality. But now I do understand the benefit of doing one thing amazingly well, I guess that’s why it’s important to specialise.

    I’ve managed to sneak the Kindle from Andy a few times to read Pao by Kerry Young. It’s not a book I would usually read, I usually choose books with a female lead, but Kerry is a friend of my mum and it has proved a very interesting read.

    A Jamaican setting, with Chinese gangsters, a few ladies of the night, and the occasional proverb. The book is the first part of a planned trilogy. The second of which Kerry is currently writing so I look forward to the future instalments too.

    Reading on a Kindle has been good; the battery life is incredible; and I don’t need to worry too much about folding the pages or scruffing up the cover. However, it does make flipping back through pages more difficult. I have a terrible time remembering names in books so I often have to flip back and forth to remember when the character appeared last. I guess that is what the search function is for.

    I’m nearing the end of the book, not quite finished yet, but here is one of my favourite quotes so far:

    The general who in advancing does not seek personal fame, and in withdrawing is not concerned with avoiding punishment, but whose only purpose is to protect the people and promote the best interests of his sovereign, is the precious jewel of the state.


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