I bought this URL over a year ago and I’ve been humming, hawing and humming again until this point. I’ve just been through the worst year and a half of my life and with this post begins my next chapter.
The Nice Things is a nice name for a nice site don’t you think and there’s a very good reason why these words are important to me. In order to get to this point my life has been an altogether different story. The Awful Things, The Devestating Things, The Horrible Things, The This Cannnot be Happening Things – the choice is yours but pretty much all of these apply.
I’ve had a pretty charmed life, sailed through school, swanned into Uni to study History of Art and Italian because I thought it was ……well, nice, sauntered into fashion buying and design when I moved to London before launching my own fashion brand Bitching and Junkfood nearly 7 years ago. It was amazing, I was living my dream, I had to pinch myself as I just couldn’t believe it was happening – we were doing sell-out collabs with Urban Oufitters, exclusive collections for concept stores in Japan, limited editions for Nasty Gal, the list goes on. I travelled the world playing with fabrics, visiting factories, hanging out in cool cities, designing things I loved and could name-check all the tope female performers as fans of the brand. I went to all the parties, stayed in the top hotels drank all the champagne and lived in the trendiest areas. The studio was less of a work place, it was our home, our team an amazing bunch of quirky girls who loved the brand as much as we did. We didn’t mind working 14 hour days and weekends. It was fun.
But that level of fun isn’t sustainable. What goes up must come down. About year five, overworked, drained and detached I started to fall out of love with my brain-child, in fact I started to resent my brand. I felt empty. I felt lost. I didn’t know who I was. I was a brand and a lifestyle that I couldn’t relate to and had grown out of. I’ve never been able to separate who I am from what I do – I guess a lot of creative people are like this. I’d created this badass “fuckyeah” party girl brand and inside I felt like the shy girl, a wallflower who wanted to make cakes, look at skies, cuddle dogs and polish my rainbow, that kind of thing. It was jarring and it was making me anxious, the workload was exhausting and my brain started to short-circuit.
So in December 2014 I sat down with my business partner and (amazingly still) best friend and told her that if I still felt the same within a year I wanted out. We were both exhausted and our personal relationships with everyone around us were suffering – I called it but I knew she felt it. Thereafter we decided to pitch for investment in the hope that we could get the support we needed to hire the extra help and expand and make our lives a little bit more manageable. I spent a year working on pretty much only financial forecasting which of course destroyed my creative of my brain one of the most important parts of my mind. I mean it was SHIT – I was spending days each week in Slough, yeah slough, financial forecasting and trying to undo the mess created by two appallingly bad accountants in a row. I actually like finance an money – it’s great - but I wanted these guys faces on dartboards with super sharp darts to nail them.
December 2015 came round and my feelings hadn’t changed. In the mean time after six years of friendship I’d fallen for the love of the first half of my life six months prior. He whisked me away on a holiday to Miami because I needed a break. It was my first real holiday in two years and the make or break for our relationship – it was a make. The day after we returned to my family home in Dublin to celebrate Christmas and my business partner phoned me to tell me our studio had been broken into for the second time in six months – they ram raided our iron doors and ransacked the place over Christmas. Worse still…our insurance didn’t cover it. It was a very big sign. It was over.
I returned to London in what can only be described as a state of distress. I was terrified, I was numb but I was fizzing like the sound of a never ending aircon fan. I was in panic mode, incapable of escaping my brain, anxiety taking the helm to steer me through my days. It was my dream, it was what I’d wanted to do since a child so what next, what was my 5 year plan….. I knew the brand wasn’t me any more and I had to let go but I also didn’t know who me was. I was so lost in a chilly January fog, the short days of my brain closing in on me. Luckily I had a wonderful man, who had started working as a director, who took me under his wing and involved me in his creative projects when I had zero belief in myself. Those cold months that followed Christmas when I had no job and we were wrapping up our studio I busied myself doing “wifey things” - housework and cooking, making my man happy and it was the only sunlight during a very very dark time for me. There were whole days where I couldn’t get out of bed. I spent several months recovering from the depression and anxiety and during this time we grew closer and closer, deciding we were going to get married last year.
By May I had built up my confidence sufficiently to get back to work and had just won a lucrative freelance client. After months of nothing he’d won a music video that we worked on together. Things were finally moving, we were on the up. It felt like the break we’d been waiting for. To top it all off he’d been offered the opportunity to pitch to direct a big advertising campaign for a top make-up brand and we spent a couple of weeks working on it together, me helping him, giving input and support, him buying the beers and the pizzas and the odd little treat for me on those long evenings.
The day I started with my new client I received a call from him telling me he’d won the job. HE’D WON THE JOB – WE WERE EXTATIC, THIS WAS IT, THE UNIVERSE HAD ANSWEREED, ALL THE HARDSHIP MADE SENSE, WE COULD GET OUR OWN PLACE, HE COULD BUY THE RING. I went to meet him at his studio and everyone was crying because they were so happy for his big break. 24 hours later everyone would be crying but for a very different reason. We went out to celebrate in a top London restaurant followed by a fashion week party, swigging champagne, dancing on tables, just overjoyed that our lives would never be the same again. We called it a night earlyish, around 2 because we had a big job to do the next day.
Two of us went to sleep that night and one of us woke up. That person was me.
I won’t go into the devestation that ensued suffice to say I didn’t want to live if he wasn’t here living with me. Somewhere over the last year and a half when nothing made sense and even less mattered I made a decision to focus on The Nice Things because I thought they were the only things that would get me though. Actually that makes it sound simple, oh my almost fiancé died and I focused on The Nice Things and it was like a big dusty-pink scandi designed bandage – that is SO NOT the case. It’s been hell, like really hell, in fact I think hell is probably more fun because at least you get to hang with mafia dons, drink whiskey and play poker and stuff. This was a cotton wool crunching, finger scraping inner-mind hell where no amount of law of attraction shite makes any kind of sense. Nothing works when you’re in this hell, nothing works but time. But yeah somewhere in between the fire and brimstone I started looking at small things like flowers, the sky, animals, colours, family, pottery, beautiful things, nice design and art and slowly slowly life has started to come back into me, thawing my experience of the world.
So with that feeling coming back I'm making changes and I'm trialling new things - all sorts of wellness, life as a digital nomad, sobriety, sugar free, veganism and the most daring of all (for me anyway) dating! I feel like this is the year. I don’t really even 100% know what this is the year for – that one didn’t work out so well for me before but this is the year and I'll find out along the way.......
Inspired by Ish I directed my first music video and some fashion film last year and am just about to shoot my first documentary. I would never have even considered doing that without his influence and I have SO much to be thankful for in the time we had together.
I'm taking my life back and learning to live again and this is my story.