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Oh, hi there. Remember me?

As regular readers will have no doubt noticed, a little while ago I rather abruptly went on a blogging break. I did so quietly, as I wasn’t quite sure at the time how I felt about it or how long it would be for.

As you know, a bit over a year ago I took on a part-time job. With those hours in addition to this blog and my other business, it was just crazy-making. I did simplify things somewhat by cutting out freelance design work (oh yeah, I was doing that too!) and reducing my guest blogging… along with other things like housework and sleep.

Even with those efforts, it was still a daily battle to juggle all these often-conflicting demands, especially once we added our new house renovations to the mix. As so often happens when we overcommit, I felt I was doing-doing-doing, but none of it particularly well. Being the ambitious, oriented type A that I am, this undercurrent of frustration at not doing my best work or progressing towards my goals was not good for anyone.

It was time to make some big changes.

I immediately set about streamlining Akimbo by ceasing the retail line and hence the related work of wholesale accounts, daily shipments, markets, product development, managing inventory etc. While I did enjoy and have success with it, my heart has always been with the wedding invitation side of the business. I knew it was the right decision as soon as I’d made it, because all I felt was an overwhelming sense of relief.

During one conversation with The Man about my newly focused business, he quietly asked whether it would help to scale back Atypical Type A as well. It wasn’t something I had admitted to myself yet but as soon as he uttered the words I knew he was right.

I stopped posting and accepting sponsored content and, after a few weeks of enjoying the break, took it a step further and removed the shop and advertising.

Side note: Around this time I was also suddenly made redundant from said part-time job. After a very stressful few days I was extremely fortunate to land another job — and a better one, at that — so thankfully that didn’t throw my new direction into disarray out of necessity.

It’s been over three months now and I can honestly say the difference is like night and day. Despite renovation chaos, redundancy and family health worries I’m feeling the best I have in a long time. I’m getting enough sleep for the first time in years, am spending more time with friends and family and the cloud of chronic headaches I’ve suffered from for over a decade has lifted.

Narrowing my focus has enabled me to condense the majority of my work into three reasonable workdays. I no longer wake up on Saturday mornings dreading the weekend, which had become just another couple of workdays to frantically squeeze in everything on my to-do list. I’ve been able to make some real progress on business goals and projects that had been stagnating in some cases for years and have reignited my passion for design and business.

Unfortunately the cost of this improvement is the sacrificing of Atypical Type A as you know it.

I’m still super excited about all the progress and plans for our home and am dying to share them with you, however the fast-paced editorial calendar will be a thing of the past. We will simply live our lives and work on our renovations as time and money permits, rather than based on artificial deadlines due to the pressure of a blog schedule.

What I’ll lack in frequency I’ll be making up for in authenticity. There will be no sponsored posts or projects-for-the-sake-of-projects. Just the juicy before-and-afters that I know you love (I’ve got some doozies for you soon!). Since there won’t be a daily post, you might like to subscribe so you can receive the posts without having to check back in all the time. You can also keep up with what I’m up to in between posts via Instagram and Facebook.

Thank you so much to everyone who checked in to make sure I hadn’t dropped dead. I know my departure was sudden and unexplained which was not my intention. I love this blog and have been blown away by the amazing support and community; you are all incredible and I’m so appreciative of you taking the time out of your busy day to read Atypical Type A. When I sat down four and a half years ago to write my first post I never would have imagined all the opportunities and relationships that would come as a result.

I do miss blogging but right now I need to be elsewhere. I hope that you, too, are right where you are meant to be.

Alicia xo

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One thing to do list

For a few years I’ve been a productivity nut. Hack this! Automate that! Become more productive so you can squeeze ever more things into your day!

All the GTD in the world was still leaving me feel no more accomplished at the end of each day.

Why? Because I had more things on my to do list than I could possibly achieve on even the smoothest of days.

So I present to you: The One Thing to do list!

Now, of course you have more than one thing to do in each day. But things like making dinner and feeding the dog will always get done, so the idea is to plan ahead what your #1 task will be for the day and do that ahead of everything else. The key is that it’s achievable on all but the messiest days, so once you’ve ticked it off you can either put your feet up guilt-free or use your new-found motivation to get ahead on another task of your choosing.

Wrangling my out-of-control work to dos is still very much a work in progress. However I’ve been limiting myself to one task each evening. I’m spending less time trying to get just one more thing done before bed; I’m living more and sleeping more. Yet I’m finding I get just as much done, possibly more because I’m not so overwhelmed.

I’ve created a free printable for you to try the system yourself. It has six days per sheet so take Sundays off (I’m generous like that).

Download it here and tell me how you go!

This post is brought to you by Moo.

Moo business cards

I finally got around to ordering some business cards… only four years after I started the blog. Cute, no?

Moo business cards

I had them printed with Moo and took full advantage of the ability to print different designs on the back by including some of my favourite craft projects and vignettes from over the years.

Moo business cards

I also picked up some cute address labels for the times when only snail mail will do.

Moo business cards

GIVEAWAY

In addition to providing me with the cards you see above, the folks at Moo want to give you the chance to get your own cards or stationery. We’re giving away a $90 Moo voucher to three readers anywhere in the world.

To enter, simply leave a comment stating why you need some Moo printing in your life!

Competition closes 31st July at midnight Australian CST and winners will be notified by email. Voucher may be put towards product and shipping. Open to readers worldwide.

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cookbook giveaway

After much trying, the winner of the recent Bookworld giveaway was unable to be contacted.

So, the cookbook prize pack is now back up for grabs!

Win a cookbook prize pack

Bookworld has a stack of cookbooks worth $160 to give away to one of you fine folk. The pack includes these new release titles:

  • Fast, Fresh & Unbelievably Delicious by Matt Preston
  • Annabel’s Family Cookbook by Annabel Karmel
  • Simon Bryant’s Vegies by Simon Bryant
  • Community: Salad Recipes From Arthur Street Kitchen by Hetty Mckinnon

How to enter

Simply take a photo of whatever you’re cooking or eating and share on Instagram or on our Facebook page with the hashtag #BWcookingweek to go into the draw. Each photo counts as a separate entry so get snapping!

Winner must be located in Australia. Entries close midnight Sunday 6th July and winner will be announced Monday 7th.

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This post was a partnership with Bookworld.

Re-Love buffet process

I’ve been hard at work on my piece for the Re-Love charity auction. Prep-work isn’t as sexy as a before-and-after but it is the most important part of any project, particularly when you’re working to restore timber.

I began by removing all the added-on bits, like the glass doors and shelf, felt drawer liner the and sticky tape that surrounded the back edges.

Re-Love buffet process

Re-Love buffet process

I didn’t realise when I bought it (it was so convincing!) but the piece is actually veneer, which I’ve never worked with before. It takes some special care as it’s more delicate than solid timber.

On the areas where the veneer had lifted up, I used a wood glue with a house brick on top of a towel to dry it flat overnight.

Re-Love buffet process

The whole piece is really dinged-up, especially the top surface which had water damage and flaking varnish, so I gave it a really good sand, using the coarsest grit that I thought the veneer could handle.

Re-Love buffet process

Next up was filling. The Intergrain Woodblend filler is really thick (more like clay than putty) but it’s easy to work with and filled holes with wood colour.

Re-Love buffet process

Because it’s so thick and pliable I was even able to use it to mould a replacement bit of handle that had chipped off.

Re-Love buffet process

Once dry, I sanded again, this time using a finer grit.

Re-Love buffet process

As they say, things look worse before they look better and this mess of putty and sanding dust proves that rule.

Re-Love buffet process

Now that the prep is complete, his weekend I’m working on the fun part of bringing the timber back to life and adding the awesome wallpaper lining.

As part of the Re-Love project, I and seven other bloggers have donated our time to revamp a piece of furniture using products supplied by Feast Watson. The finished pieces will be auctioned with proceeds going to Salvos Sores. Find out more here.

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Port Antonio cocktail

Happy Friday! Please regale me with some of your exciting weekend plans as I will no doubt be spending the majority of mine with brush in hand, craning up to 26 linear metres of cornice. Whatever your plans, there’s always time for a Saturday night cocktail, yes? I’ve shared this sweet/tart one over at Polka Dot Bride today.

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Birthday giveaway winners

Congratulations to readers Harriet, Brittney, Maria, Georgina and Kelly! You have each won an Akimbo stationery mixed bag. I’ll be emailing you to get your delivery details. If you missed out, you can order your lucky dip pack here. Thanks so much for your kind and helpful feedback on the birthday post. You’re keen to see more of:

Most of this is exactly what I love to write about so it’s great to know it’s resonating with you too. The only thing I don’t plan to increase is cross-promoting my stationery business but those interested (thanks!) can follow over on the Akimbo blog.

Thanks again for reading and here’s to another big year ahead!

Atypical Type A is four

I can’t quite believe it but May marks four years since I tapped out my first ever blog post. Whaaat?!

I normally throw a bit of a virtual party to celebrate Atypical Type A’s birthday month but I’m keeping things low-key this year (you can thank an overseas holiday, a full-on renovation and an epic real-life party for that). But I still wanted to mark the occasion and thank you so much for your readership and involvement over the past twelve months.

It has been an interesting year for blogging. I’ve slowed down from five to three posts a week to enable me to keep the quality up while not running myself ragged. It has been great to give myself time to actually live my life and work on projects that can then become blog content.

In fact I’ve decreased my time investment overall by necessity, firstly to accommodate my change in job circumstances, secondly because I had been working waaaay too hard and needed to prioritise my sanity.

That’s not to say I have lost any of my dedication to Atypical Type A. Quite the opposite, in fact. Scaling back on some of the bottomless-pit tasks (such as social media and guest posting) and more-more-more posting schedule has enabled me to focus on projects that I am really excited about.

I don’t have any big announcements this year. There are no surprises, changes or big collaborations to tell you about. I’m simply getting back to what I love doing: sharing creative projects from my own home and life. I hope you’ll stick around for the journey.

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Reader giveaway

As a thank you for being SO COMPLETELY AWESOME, I have a bit of a spontaneous giveaway. I’m giving away five of my Akimbo mixed bag packs of stationery.

Simply leave a comment stating the types of projects you’d like to see more of on Atypical Type A.

Five winners will be chosen at random and I’ll ship the prizes anywhere in the world. Competition closes midnight Wednesday 28th May (Australian CST) and winners will be contacted via email.

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P.S. Congrats to reader @tanbeekay – the winner of the Bookworld cookbook competition.

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workroom-before-05

Happy Monday! We had our first weekend of actually feeling like we were living in a proper house for the first time in, oh, four months. It wasn’t packing central, or renovation central, or party central. We’ve had a couple of people over for dinner and finally set up the couch and TV.

That said, I did spend a bit of time up in the attic sorting out my stock. As I mentioned last week, I’m no longer doing any more readymade stationery products for my business Akimbo so I am clearing out all of my existing inventory.

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I packed up a bunch more of these Lucky Dip packs (thanks to everyone who’s ordered one so far!). The piles are shrinking a little every day so I’ll soon be able to start painting the space and making it into an extension of my shiny new office!

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You can pick up a Card Survival Pack or one of the other themed Lucky Dip packs here.

Thanks for your support, everyone!

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In last week’s post of 20 things I’ve learned in my 20s, the last and most important thing for me was to ‘Trust your gut’.

That’s what I did recently after a lightbulb moment told me I should completely cut out one major aspect of my stationery business Akimbo. I’d been trying to build the retail and wholesale side of the business (after all, who doesn’t love making money while they sleep?). But in truth it just took time and energy away from what I really love doing: designing wedding stationery.

I’m normally an overthinker and a planner (there’s the Type A for you) but in this case I made the decision as soon as the idea formed. Perhaps I would have come to the realisation much sooner if I’d not been working myself so hard last year. It took me forcing myself away from work on nights and weekends and a moratorium on new projects for that to happen. My gut already knew what to do, I just needed to stop and listen to it.

Of course, my timing is laughable since we have just bought a new house with a big studio for me and now I won’t be needing all this space to store inventory and packaging. Ah, well!

It’s pretty amazing how well our intuition can guide us if we only let it.

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With the decision made, I am clearing out all of my remaining stock and get ready for this next phase of my business. I don’t normally do any promo for my business here but I know there are plenty of stationery lovers among you so I didn’t want you to miss out.

You can find all of my regular sale stock on my web shop as well as a bunch of special ‘lucky dip’ clearance packs over on my Etsy shop.

 

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cookbook giveaway

After packing and moving house, followed by several weeks of kitchen renovations, I have never been so happy to be back in the kitchen. There is only so much pizza, frozen meals and toasted sandwiches I can take. I’m craving everything from healthy salads to hearty stews – basically anything that is real food.

Time to pull out the cookbooks and make some old favourites or better yet, try my hand at some new recipes.

Win a cookbook prize pack

If your meals could use a bit of a shake-up, I have a tasty treat for you!

Next week is Bookworld‘s Cooking Week and they have a stack of cookbooks worth $160 to give away to one of you fine folk. The pack includes these new release titles:

  • Fast, Fresh & Unbelievably Delicious by Matt Preston
  • Annabel’s Family Cookbook by Annabel Karmel
  • Simon Bryant’s Vegies by Simon Bryant
  • Community: Salad Recipes From Arthur Street Kitchen by Hetty Mckinnon

How to enter

Simply take a photo of whatever you’re cooking or eating and share on Instagram with the hashtag #BWcookingweek to go into the draw. Each photo counts as a separate entry so get snapping!

Winner must be located in Australia. Entries close midnight Wednesday 21st May and winner will be announced Friday 23rd May.

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This post was a partnership with Bookworld.

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