A more peacefilled life

A more peacefilled life


  1.  Magic mornings- make the most of your mornings
  2. Make things
  3. Breathe more deeply
  4. Ask, what is on the other side of fear?
  5. Exercise- walk daily
  6. Clear your mind
  7. Start a daily diary/ journalling practice- write everything that comes to you/ is occupying your mind
  8. Experience the anxiety, allow it to overwhelm you for a limited amount of time (11 am rule)
  9. Create a worry box, where you write down and physically put away worry
  10. Say what you are afraid of, speak about it to someone, identify the emotion 
Week 1: How I made my portfolio website

Week 1: How I made my portfolio website

I’ve decided to dedicate time to the business of being freelance (Grace the biz) so I’ve finally decided to set up a portfolio website. Over the next weeks I’ll be writing about the steps and resources I’m using to building it :).

Week 1

– I’ve set aside some time to do this because I know I wont if it’s not scheduled! Wednesday mornings every week is my chosen day.

Step 1: Research sites that I love 

I came across Tyler Riewer’s site on twitter a few months ago and absolutely loved the simplicity, humour and personal touches. Also loved that all you needed to know was on one page. 

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I also searched “best portfolio websites” selecting websites I really liked and writing what I liked about them.

jessicahische.is/anoversharer love the humour in this website, simple and easy to navigate and she gives us nuggets like tips page

nolowenenowak.com/– again one page will all the information; portfolio,services, works, about me, timeline. The balloon navigator is cute!

tanmade.com/biolike the allen is…. thinking, reading, collecting, designing, editing, writing, playing around. It gives you a clear idea about what he does. 

www.rleonardi.com– amazing site that really shows off his animation/ web building skills

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The key things every site I saw has are;

  • About me
  • Services
  • Portfolio
  • Works/ CV/ current projects
  • Contact details

Step 2: Create a brief for the site

So I’ve decided on a one page. It’s simple and less daunting for my first website design and build!

  • Simple- one page with all my key information
  • Easily navigable
  • Friendly
  • Grace-full
  • Use symbols?

Key elements

  • logo and name
  • tagline- tactician; project development, design & architecture, community engagement
  • headshot/ picture of me
  • text about myself, my story & what I love
  • services; community arts, architecture, graphic design, project development
  • working on now
  • timeline (how do I show this as my experience isnt very linear, lots of simultaneous projects?)
  • portfolio/ projects
  • contact details
  • social media (email, twitter, linked in)
  • FAQs- e.g why do you laugh all the time? 
  • links to blogs- roller banner of interesting things or posts from blogs

Tools I want to use/ learn

  • Udemy course
  • wordpress
  • key word research
  • google analytics

Step 3: Decide on what platform to use

I had a look at free sites like wix, some of my friends have used it but I didn’t like the look of it particularly and I would like to use this opportunity to learn about web design & coding. 

Step 5: Set up a domain name & web hosting

Choosing a domain name, I found some tips on Robert Mening’s blog post on how to make a website

    • A) Is it brandable? For example, if you make a site about poetry then best-poetry-website.net is not a good choice: poetryacademy.com or poetryfall.com is much better.
    • B) Is it memorable? Short, punchy and clear domain names are much easier to remember.If your domain name is too fuzzy, too long or spelled in a strange way, visitors may forget it.
    • C) Is it catchy? You want a name that rolls off the tongue, describes what you do and sticks head. Coming up with a cool name can be a bit tough since there are approximately 150 million active domain names in the world right now – but don’t give up.
    • There’s one rule that always applies to domain names: If you like it, go for it.

My domain name? gracemark.co.uk

Next web hosting for my website the best description I’ve heard is it’s like paying rent for a store front but online. 

I used 1&1 because I’d already bought my domain name with them and they had a good deal (I thought the price was per year but t’s actually per month so read the small print!)

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So I’m already to get started designing and building :). Check out week 2 soon :).



A friend describes life as Cartographers map
We are travelling, exploring the world around us
Every day we experience lots of small changes that we don’t perceive or notice
Once in a while the big ones come along that are life changing

It feels like you’re on a rock clinging on for dear life
You can look back and see where you came from and all the opportunities before you
but you don’t know where to swim to next.

Sometimes we are laid flat out to get us to notice ourselves
To notice the world around us and where we going
We reach our depths have to crawl out
Let go (the hardest thing to do)

And start swimming
Making time for things you love, walking, drawing, but add variety
So it’s not one thing you expect to bring you through

Trust that something will come and you will be able to spot it
Your Intuition will kick in

Talking having safe space to talk allows you to assign meaning to change
The journey is the learning, the swimming and exploring

Expand your financial knowlege

Expand your financial knowlege

I watched The Big Short, the brilliant film based on Micheal Lewis’ even more brilliant book. The film does well to highlight the human impact of the last recession, although it doesnt focus on the people (everyday lay person, not the bankers) that it really impacted, it does point out that these numbers on computers are actually human beings.

I’ve been absolutely fascinated by the last financial crisis. It began as I entered university so I did not directly feel the effects but it really affected my perspective on money, work and security. I’ve done a lot of reading, watching and listening and I’m constantly fascinated by really smart people telling me that finance is too complex for them.

It’s crazy not to try to understand money, even if it’s only how to manage your own money. Our entire system is based around money. The work we do, what we value or don’t, what we do in our spare time, what schools we go to, where we live. We need to know how money works and it’s relationship to humans.

There’s denying there is a lot of complexity but the basic truths are constant. The markets are driven by people not machines, and people are easily influenced so recessions aren’t anomalies in the financial system, they happen every few years and the patterns are pretty similar.

Here are some of my favourite books, films and podcasts that dispel the myth that it’s too complex.

Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki- My Dad gave me this book in my early teens and it basically changed my view on money, work, entrepreneurship and education. It took me beyond what we are taught at school. The focus is mostly on real estate but the basics it teaches about understanding cashflow, debt, that your home is not an investment, that financial advisors get paid to sell you certain investments are incredibly insightful.

Motley Fool Podcasts– brilliant podcasts on investment news, I really enjoy their philosophies on investing as a long game.

Richest Man in Babylon– this book by George Samuel Clason gives financial advice through a collection of parables set in ancient Babylon. The principles are simple and true.

Debt Thomas Sankara– brilliant talk by Thomas Sankara on the flawed ideology of debt.

Inside Job– brilliant documentary take down of the last financial crises

Micheal Lewis books– Any of the Micheal Lewis books on finance. I’ve read or listened to pretty much all of them. They are brilliant at showing the human side which is often replaced by statistics (there were no humans involved in the making of this derivative). My

Thinking fast and slow- this book is a brilliant insight to how truly irrational we are and how we can be easily influenced.

Four Horsemen- A bit apocalyptic at times but some eye opening insights to be found in this documentary. It explores finance in the west, the death of empires and the global effects of our actions. It was the first time I learned that the Federal Reserve is a privately owned bank. “Exult in the crimes of others and in our nobility of opposing them.”

Eye opening documentary

The collapse of The American Dream explained in Animation- pretty self explanatory. Short cartoon that reveals a lot of the backdrop to our financial system that is often hidden.

Enron, The Smartest Guys In The Room, Directed by Alex Gibney-  Fascinating documentary the story of big financial catastrophes is often the same sadly.

The Corporation

The Psychology of Human Misjudgement- I love Charlie Munger. His interviews and talks are all hilariously brilliant. His research and findings on the social side of finance are fascinating.

Why we look down on low wage earners- School of Life video



I did my yearly reflection and looking forward at 2016, this year I don’t have new years resolutions but approaches I will bring to my life.
This year I…..
Will live by these principles
– Balance in my life- in time, relationships and more long term planning
– Wisdom over information
– Trust my instinct and voice
I will 
– Get my driving license
– Travel to Paris and Nigeria
My attitude will be of
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Human the movie

Human the movie

Start 2016 with Human, a beautiful documentary about humanity, love, life and the planet :-).
Watching the three films I was incredibly touched by the stories from people young and old across the world and seeing the awe inspiring scenic shots.
One of my favourite interviews was Jose Mujica “the worlds poorest president.”
“When you buy something, you’re paying with the hours of your life you had to spend earning that money. The difference is that life is the one thing money cant buy. Life only gets shorter and it is pitiful to waste ones life and freedom that way.” Jose Mujica
My favourite reflection guide

My favourite reflection guide

Tis the season for reflection, as Christmas ends and we draw closer to 2016, there’s going to be plenty of talk about 2015, how it went, what went well, what didn’t go so well, new years resolutions etc.

My favourite reflection tool has been Mathias Vestergaard Annual report 2014. He gives a brilliant and simple guide for creating your own annual report (reflecting on the previous year)

“You will need five sheets of paper (or five pages in your favorite notebook), a good pen and a great cup of coffee (optional).

Step 1: what happened? Make a timeline of the past 12 months and add the primary things that happened this year. Travel, important milestones, career changes, family. You can use your journals from the year, your calendar, Twitter and Facebook feeds and whatever else that might help you. You don’t need to write anything about it right now. Just get the facts laid out. If you count less than 10 things, then you are probably being a little too strict about what counts as a significant. If you have more than 30 things, leave out the least important.

Step 2: who were in my life? On a new page: Make a map of your people. Start anywhere and draw a little stick figure and give it a name for each person that was significant in your life this year. There might be a group of your closest friends. A group of your co-workers. Who were the new people that came into your life? As in step 1, try to just focus on the facts. 

Step 3: how did it feel? On a new page: With the facts out, now it’s time to go a little deeper. Pick one of the elements from step 1 and try to remember a little bit more about what happened and how it felt. How did it feel when it happened and how does it feel now, with a little bit of time in between? Big challenges might have felt super scary when you were in it, but now that you look back on it, it actually feels great. Try to capture both feelings. Repeat for at least three other events from step 1.

Step 4: what have I learned? On a new page: Try to make a list of the five most important things you’ve learned or discovered in the past year. How did you discover it? What allowed you to capture it as a learning? How has it changed your view on life, the world or whatever it relates to? Step 5: Look ahead. On the last page: With 2014 over, the last step is to look ahead for 2015. You can make this quite complicated but actually try to not overthink it: just draw the three most important people, two concrete things you really want to do, and one word that describes a good attitude. Don’t think about it. Grab a pen and see what comes out. I also highly recommend my friend Chris’s approach to redesigning your new year’s resolutions. Read it here and be inspired: http://bit.ly/1DvYIzd

I’ll also be adding a mapping of  what I want my life to be like in 3 years, 5 years and 10 years. I was speaking to my Dad today, he asked me “have you thought about your long term goals?” and I realised I haven’t thought about that in a long time, I’ve been in present mode.

I’ve also decided not to do New Years Resolutions (I never stick to them so why start the year failing?). Instead I’m choosing three principles I want to live by in 2016. I’ll be posting them soon so you can help keep me on track :).

Let me know how your annual report/ reflection goes!

Modern guilt

Modern guilt

Things we’re supposed to feel guilty about today….
I’m spending too much
I’m not spending enough
I should be more successful by now
I consume too much
I’m killing the environment
I should recycle more
I’m too rich
I’m too poor
I shouldn’t complain there are people worse of than me
I should be happier
If i loose my job there must be something wrong with me
I should know what I want
My life should have meaning
I shouldn’t need people
I’m not working hard enough
I’m working too much, I don’t have time for the people I love
I spend too much time online
I shouldn’t be scared of that group of people
I deserve better
I dont deserve better
I consume too much information
I don’t know what their talking about
I’m missing out
I’m giving up
I should have given up ages ago
Charting a freelance career, lessons from Seth Godin

Charting a freelance career, lessons from Seth Godin


I completed Seth Godins brilliant Freelancer Udemy Course. Really made me reflect on what I’m doing with my freelance career, who I want to work with and what I want to be known for.

Check it out :).



Moment– a moment in time, where is the moment

Management– who is your boss? you are, manage your career

Department- biz to biz, find the right department

Movement- can you create one?

Agreement- you are more likely to make a difference they are happy to see

Environment- you get to pick

Persistent- showing up and staying, being respectful

Consistent- Find a tool and use it and use it even after it bores you

Potent- thing that really matters

Statement- what is your point of view, what do you stand for?

Investment- what are you investing in your work? What lifetime value?

Argument- objections are your friend, listen!

Equipment- better be good enough, doesn’t matter what equipment you use, how does it make us feel?

Element- are you in your element, or floundering

Comment- what do they say when they talk about you

Document- write down what you do

Excrement- every once in a while your gonna step in it, what are you going to do? That’s how we’ll judge you

Assessment- when you look at a problem assess it

Improvement- opportunity not a threat

Achievement- what do yours look like? what stories do you tell and what do you ship?

Instrument- we’ve all been given one, commit and persist


Information to Insight

Information to Insight

Information (facts provided or learned about something or someone) hear, read or observe.
Its external, till you try it yourself. Practice it. Then it becomes…..
Something you know and are familiar with.
When an experience allows you to use that knowledge it becomes….
You build your ability to think and act with experience, knowledge and understanding.
A continous exploration of these experiences to make meaning and learn from them it becomes…..