Friday, 28 August 2015

Be BOLD, Be Brave, Be YOU

This is a blog that aims to do nothing but tell you exactly how I feel at this moment in time…

Never have I ever been so disappointed and full to the brim with inexplicable feelings towards the Education system, the Government and the challenges most of us face when it comes to both.

Having spent nineteen years in education, training to become what I thought would be an employable individual seeking a role within the arts, I still cannot succeed in a role which is undoubtedly suited to my qualifications, experience and skill. During all my years in education I have worked hard in many different sectors in the labour market. From stacking shelves, customer service and sales to book editing, teaching and project coordination. I have a positive approach to everything I do, I remain calm under pressure and offer excellent communication skills. I can plan to cater for any needs. I can teach. I can be an inspiration and I have the capacity to learn fast and well. Yet here I am, twenty six years of age and still desperately seeking my dream job.

Hours of my time has been spent writing the perfect applications to suit roles which I would love to achieve; programme managers for arts charities, teaching roles in a performing arts environment and learning officers or management within growing art establishments. More time has then been spent, after being offered interviews, to prepare project plans, budget materials and perfect answers to their questions, which aim to prove me suitable for their role. But still I am unemployed with a list of sodden excuses as to why I am not good enough.

I am a person who lives for laughter and love. I thrive on positive thinking. I put in 110% effort in to everything that I do. My qualifications range from diplomas to post graduate degrees. I volunteer, I am caring, I am helpful and creative. I work both collaboratively and independently. I am organised, good at prioritising workloads and enjoy pressure and being busy. I have the biggest passion for achieving and doing everything I can to succeed. I dream of becoming an asset to an organisation whose aim is to inspire, particularly young people, through art forms and support these people in achieving things they didn’t believe possible. I want to give young people the best possible chance to succeed in life, because as we all know, it is a tough life that we live.

Art is frowned upon. “it’s a drop out course” “it gets you nowhere” “You will fail” BULLSHIT!
Art is so vast and so incredibly inspiring to not just young people, but all of us. Open your eyes and look around at all the beauty in this world; architecture, gardens, paintings, statues, literature, music. None of which would have been possible without an artistic, imaginative, creative mind. It can support people through difficult times. It can make people happy. It can provoke emotion we didn’t even know we could feel. Yet here we are telling our future that art is unnecessary. Wake up!

My biggest ambition is to make a difference in people’s lives using art as a catalyst. Whether that be as a teacher, a project coordinator or running an art organisation. I have never felt so passionate about something in my whole life and I am being shot down for not having enough experience or the correct skillset. Sue me for not having all these qualities written down on a piece of paper and signed off by some dude who leans back in his spinning chair all day. Give me a chance to PROVE it to you.

Fair play to all those people who attended the same interviews I did and achieved the role. You must have bought more to the table and for that, I congratulate you. Good for you for keeping the spirit of the arts alive and being able to expose all your abilities, passions and experience to the employer. I tried my best. I tried my absolute hardest to achieve. I worked myself to the bone to be the best I can be. I wish it was enough. I wish I could tell you that I have acquired the job that lets me practice all my talents, my qualities my passions and my skillset. I want to make you proud of me. Each and every single one of you. I want my Mum to be able to tell her friends that I am happy as Larry working in the industry I long to thrive in. I want my brother to feel inspired by his baby sister. I want my friends to hear all the wonderful stories I have to share about my working environment. I’d love to report back to my teachers, tutors and mentors that I am ‘living the dream’.

There are so many emotions running through me at the moment. My heart is literally pumping out a different one with each beat. Failure, disappointment, strength, anger, loss, bravery, positivity, upset, passion, determination, irritancy, rejection, pity… the list goes on and on. It is so difficult to sit here and write this, but in the same way I feel more and more relieved after each word.

What am I doing so wrong? What makes me so unemployable in the field of work that I so badly aspire to be a part of? It is hard times. Rejection. Rejection. Rejection. Rejection is my biggest fear and here I am, dwelling in its hand. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going is all that echoes around my head.

To all of you who are working just as hard as I am to achieve, to succeed, to be everything you wished to be when you were young… It is a tough fight and dreams don’t work unless you do, so keep going. At least, that is what I keep telling myself. A dear friend of mine sent me a card once, which displayed the words “Be Bold, Be Brave, Be You”. I try to live by this every single day – through all the best times and all the bad times. Because that is all I have to give this world; someone bold, someone brave, me.



If you have any questions or comments please do let me know:

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Everything's Changing

Since my last blog which expressed my joyous feelings about moving to Cornwall I am devastated to announce that this journey will no longer be happening. Sadly, the sale on my house down there fell through, which means I am staying put in my hometown of Bicester. Whilst this is not what I wanted, I am happy to be staying in Bicester for a while as it means I can continue to have close friendships with people here. Unfortunately, I have sacrificed my job with OYAP Trust as they hired my replacement, shortly after my advisory that I would be moving away. There is now no funding for me to stay on. Another truly saddening event. 

OYAP has been my place of work for 8 months and with each day I have grown to love the work they do as a charity and I do for them more and more. It has been a dream job working with creative people, being able to use the creative side of my brain to develop and coordinate exciting activities for young people to get involved in. Even the meetings were inspiring and brilliant to be a part of and left me feeling motivated and full of ideas for not just the activities I coordinate, but also crafts, teaching tips and my career. Having the opportunity to work with a variety of wonderful people, each skilled in many different art forms, has been amazing. I am constantly inspired in their presence and wanting to do more for OYAP and their participants day after day. My favourite moments with OYAP include putting together a youth action team in Banbury and watching the young people succeed in planning and coordinating their own creative acts of kindness for their community. A significant project which will stay with me is when the young people designed and created cushions for elderly people and we all delivered the cushions into a care home. This particular project was featured in the Banbury Cake Newspaper. 

Another favourite moment was watching the success of the first project I coordinated in its entirety - UnFrozen. A theatre and set design project based on Disney's popular Frozen, which ran over October half term 2014. It was a huge sell out and the performance created in just 2 days was enough to bring the proud parents to tears! It was a wonderful celebration of theatre, singing, dancing and indeed the Frozen soundtrack. 

Finally, working with Heyford Park Free School has to be up their with the top favourites. Another project completely coordinated by me! After getting in touch with the school I successfully recruited artists to join me each week in providing lunchtime art activities for the students. These ranged from puppetry to animation, photography to sculpting! We have successfully seen the students through their Arts Awards too, which has been a very rewarding process for both them and OYAP. I will miss going into the school each week and working with such talented children. 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

My Current State of Mind

A blog aiming to just summarise briefly my current thoughts on all the changes going on in my life, leading up to, hopefully, my fresh start at this life I lead and love.

I didn't think in a million years I would ever move away from my home here. I love Bicester, and I am such a home comforts girl that I never dreamed of moving 4 hours down the road! Not a chance. But here I am, finding amazing, heart warming, one in a billion kind of people, and moving to Cornwall. It is unbelievable what life can throw at you - good and bad - but I am so grateful for the journey and experiences I have had so far. I cannot wait to see where life takes me when I get down there. I just know in my heart it is the best move, the greatest decision and the wisest choice for me at this point in my life. A fresh start.

Everyone I know down there, who looks forward to me joining them, makes me really count my blessings. These people who make my heart burn with a bright desire to just be there already. My tummy feels like your tongue would straight after sipping a boiling hot drink. It burns with a passion for Cornwall and my new life there, that I am so excited to just get started. I need to be careful though as it is making me drift through what I have here and I don't want to regret not making the most of my last few months in Bicester. Already I am being pushed out by some people who I have loved for years, maybe because they feel less willing to put effort in as they know I am leaving? I don't know their reasoning but it makes me truly sad to know people are like that, but at the same time, it is really proving who my friends are. The process of moving shouldn't affect these things in a person's life, however one cannot forcefully change another's opinion or decision and so if that is what they deem right to do, so be it. I hope they are happy, as I know I will be in the long run.

Here I am though, sat like a sitting duck just waiting for my life to really start, because I know the date 'May 26th 2015' is going to be the most significant in all my life yet. That is when I can truly become my own person. I absolutely cannot wait. Until then I will continue to miss Cornwall and my Cornish family and friends. They are the colour in my life down there. Everything else if still very much in a grey area, but they are shining at me like a rainbow. How lucky I am to have you all. To have my Auntie Trish, my cousins and second cousins! To have Jack, Connor, Shannon - my new soul mates who I love tons and tons! But also, back home to have my Mother who has supported me through excitement and a lot of over analysing of paperwork! I will miss her everyday. She will always hold a piece of my heart which will stay here in Bicester. My brother, Adam, who has shown me he can be the rock I have always seen in him, the epitome of who a brother should be. Caring, kind, loving, thoughtful and so supportive in ways I didn't think he could be. My Bicester friends who have chosen to stick by me through this life changing decision and support me with encouragement and comfort. Colleagues at work who have offered their heart warming statements of kindness and expressed their sadness in my choice to leave. OYAP Trust has been a job which has bought me into myself and I will always be inspired by my director Helen Le Brocq, for her fantastic experiences and outlook on life and my manager Caroline Tress, for her kind, supportive and caring nature. Thank you each - you have all aided in my happiness and encouraged me to make this move with a positive attitude and a huge grin on my face.

I am lucky, I feel blessed and I was compelled to blog about this today.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Earth Meets Sky

On Wednesday 19th February I attended a vocal technique and performance workshop at The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, England. This workshop was provided by the Children's Art Charity I work for, OYAP Trust, and aimed to give young people an opportunity to create music performances together, working with professional artists from the music industry. 

Juliet Russell was the significant facilitator, who is a singer, composer and vocal coach on BBC's popular The Voice. Alongside Juliet was Flexie, a musician from London and Fred, a session drummer. The team together created a fantastic and inspiring atmosphere, which lead to all the participants forming a piece of individual music. 

The session saw us learning new techniques, significantly using our voices; basslines, melodies and beatboxing to name a few! We formed melodies as a group and used rounds and harmonies to produce exciting sounds and atmospheric songs. We were pulled in and out of our comfort zones as we each explored elements of music we hadn't tried before. For me, mixing up time signatures within a song and putting lyrics and a melody to these changes was most challenging, but thanks to Fred's support and encouragement from others, I was able to succeed in performing this task. It boosted my confidence as a singer and inspired me to learn to play an instrument so I can begin a process of writing my own music. 

Yesterday I was also lucky enough to meet some fantastic people, who truly inspired me to get back into singing and music once more. This was my favourite part of the day as I was able to learn about other emerging musicians who were present and watching them perform their incredible talents. From singers to rappers to violinists to drummers, the day had an exciting vibe running through the air as we explored deeper aspects of music and explored everyone's different genres and styles. 

I want to thank Zaylie from OYAP Trust for organising such an incredible event and a HUGE thanks goes to Juliet, Flexie and Fred for facilitating such a great project. Earth Meets Sky inspired young people across Oxfordshire to dive into the deep end and boost their confidence, learn creative new ways to express themselves through music and develop their music technique. 

A truly inspiring day to experience, I am looking forward to seeing the video pieced together from the best bits of the project.  

Monday, 9 February 2015


Up-cycling... who knew?!

About a month ago I bought this beauty for £10...

I was inspired by my favourite app, Pinterest, to up-cycle an old filing cabinet for my new home. After searching through countless blogs and 'how to' videos I decided to take matters into my own hands and give it a go using my own imagination. 

Originally I wanted to paint the whole thing yellow as it's such a happy colour and thought it would look lovely and keep me smiling in my new home. The idea was to then glue floral fabric, which complimented the yellow, to the drawers to give it a shabby chic feel. However, the paint failed, probably because it wasn't paint created for metal! And so my brain started to process new ideas and suddenly I had a thought. 

I bought around 2 metres of floral fabric, a dark colour with bright pinks in the flowers, and some mod-podge (Modified porridge me and a friend call it - which it absolutely isn't by the way!) The mod-podge was the adhesive of choice I used to paste the whole thing and then press fabric on to it. I decided the drawers would have to have a different pattern or colour, otherwise the whole thing would look to stocky! I purchased some more floral material and before I knew it I had a completed, up-cycled filing cabinet... 

I don't think I could be happier with this and I cannot wait to get it into my new home. 

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Make a Change

Make a Change

Let’s do something good, let’s do something kind
Let’s use our imaginations, just sat there in our minds.
In a world that suffers, let’s do something good
Let’s take positive action, bring it to our neighbourhood.
The more often we meet, the more often we plan
To take away negative portrayals, to show everyone we can.
Join us to make a difference, let’s make a change
Let’s become something worthy, make that change today.

~ Amie Johnson, 29/01/2015 ~

~ Inspired by the Youth Action Teams of OYAP Trust ~

As some of you may know, I work for a Children's Art Charity, who are devoted to encouraging arts within the young people of today. It is something I have so much passion for and commitment to and today, whilst working on a project, I was inspired to write this short poem to encourage positive change. 

A Youth Action Team is a group of young people who express interest in using art as a catalyst to make positive changes within their communities. As someone who has always gone out of my way to make people happy, even strangers, this project is the highlight of my job. Engaging young people and supporting them to take creative action within their communities for the sake of others is something I truly love to do. It is something I believe we should all do a little more of when we can. 

This morning a lady greeted me and it made me happy. Moments later I greeted another passing stranger with hopes that they will pass along the happiness and 'spread the joy'. Even something as little as this can spark happiness within someone, so if you pass someone, acknowledge them, say "hello". 

Maybe you want to take it a step further and help create other changes? The Youth Action Teams at OYAP Trust are working hard to make these changes happen, and support is always sought. For more details on our Youth Action Teams and updates of what they have been up to visit: and check out our projects page. 

I hope they can inspire you as much as they inspire me. 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014


Just some lyrics/poem I've been working on.

Why did you do this
What were you thinking
How could you do this
Where is this going
Who are you?

A puncture wound left untreated
A burst awakens the night
A compass that has no needle
A frown kept out of sight.

Two hearts sewn together as one
Two minds lay awake alert
Two pictures blurred from vision
Two dreams reenact the hurt.

Anger is rising
Tears are falling
Body is aching
My heart is calling.

Why did you do this
What were you thinking
How could you do this
Where is this going
Who are you?

The jungle is growing darker
The peace is turning to rage
The core is beginning to fail
The processor trapped in a cage.

One more time to see a spark light
One last time to place a kiss
One more look to find a life line
One last moment to stop this.

Anger is rising
Tears are falling
Body is aching
My heart is calling.

Why did you do this
What were you thinking
How could you do this
Where is this going
Who are you?

A mystery is unforgivable
A mind ticks on over thinking
A question will go unanswered
A path is suddenly sinking.

A face, a memory, a painful burn.
A time, a moment, a dream.
A life, a happiness, a unique smile.
A love, a present, a team.

Who are you
Where is this going
How could you do this
What were you thinking
Why did you do this?