Life before – Origin story pt. 1

Everyone loves a good origin story right? So I thought I’d share mine.

At the start of 2020 I was working a job I didn’t love (or really even like much if I’m honest, having left my “career” job after having my first child, this was supposed to be a stop-gap until I could find something better… hmmmmm), barely making enough money to cover nursery fees, feeling like a hamster on a perpetual wheel – always moving but never getting anywhere. I was feeling exhausted, burnt out and generally pretty miserable. A familiar feeling for many I’m sure. And then BAM! the pandemic hit and the world was plunged into the unknown.

Working in a hospital, albeit a private one, meant that things got complicated quickly and I don’t need to tell you how uncertain the world became almost overnight. We all muddled along as best we could, juggling childcare, home-schooling, chicken pox, daily walks, making rainbows and the obligatory Joe Wicks exercise (oof!) but as we approached the summer holidays with no end in sight and no viable childcare options to suit both kids, the thoughts I’d had years before of working for myself resurfaced with a vengeance. I mean, who doesn’t dream of working for themselves, right? So I scrimped and saved to make sure I had enough money to continue paying for nursery fees for the foreseeable future before handing in my notice at work.

I’d had ideas of becoming a VA (Virtual Assistant) – as an ex-Project Manager I love to get other people organised and have a head for numbers – so I enrolled on a bookkeeping course, handed in my notice and made plans to spend the summer with my kids before getting down to it. Clearly things did not go quite to plan! I am currently neither a bookkeeper or VA, though I am still working towards my bookkeeping qualifications, just a little slower than I’d first thought.

Spending that summer with my kids is the best thing I could have done at that time. We went on adventures when we were able and explored our local area. We climbed trees, had ice-creams in the sunshine and fish & chips on the beach; all things I wouldn’t have enjoyed half as much if I were still unhappy in my job.

Also during that time I loved getting messy and creative with my kids and a spark was reignited in me to start making things again – something that had long been forgotten. I’d always fancied giving screen printing a go – I thought it might be a fun activity to do with the smalls. So I bought myself a kit from Hunt the Moon and a few blank t-shirts and I just couldn’t stop. The first thing I printed was a t-shirt for my girl of her own crown design (Read the story of it here) and it’s still my favourite. That was in September 2020 and I just thought “f*ck it, let’s give it a shot!” and here we are.

The Squiggles & Ink signature ink splats brought my simple designs to life with fun and colour. I started an Instagram page that is perilously close to 1000 followers now and my Etsy shop is doing well. For what has been a stressful and sometimes scary time to be alive I am actually the happiest I’ve been in a long time.

There is still a long way to go before I can retire with my millions (haha! I wish.) but for now I have a smile on my face because I am doing something I enjoy.

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